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Dolly Parton’s new literacy programme urgently needs 20 more volunteers in Shrewsbury and Telford to help children become ready to read

Dolly Parton’s new literacy programme urgently needs 20 more volunteers in Shrewsbury and Telford to help children become ready to read

Story Starters has just launched in Shrewsbury and Telford but it urgently needs 20 more volunteers for its next training course in Crewe on 30th November.

Story Starters is a new programme that supports early years’ children to learn the essential skills to become ready to read when they reach primary school. These children, aged three to five, will receive high quality support from trained volunteers to enable the children to develop their language and reading skills. These 20 additional volunteers that are needed in the area will ensure the programme is benefitting as many children as possible.

Story Starters is a collaborative project between national children’s literacy charity Beanstalk, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and LuCid (The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development). International superstar and philanthropist, Dolly Parton, recently launched a new film to encourage more people to get involved with Story Starters.

Research has shown that children who benefit from high-quality support in their early years start school on average three months ahead in their literacy and language skills, compared with children who don’t. The programme has been made possible by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, whose Dream Fund chose Story Starters to receive £1 million in funding in January 2017.

Ginny Lunn, CEO of Beanstalk, says, “We know how important it is for children in the early years of their education to receive support with their language development, as this enables them to start primary school ready to read and able to thrive throughout their lives. We are asking for more people in Shrewsbury and Telford to come forward as volunteers now so they can be trained as Story Starters. As a Beanstalk reading helper myself, I know you’ll find it will be one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever done so do join us.”

Story Starters volunteers will visit children twice a week and support three children for 20 minutes each. The sessions are fun, interactive and hugely beneficial to the children receiving extra support. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will provide every Story Starters child with high-quality, professionally-selected, age-appropriate books. These books will be sent directly to both the early years setting and the home of each Story Starters child, ensuring that they can enjoy the magic of stories at home as well as when they are with their Story Starters.

You can apply to become a Story Starters volunteer by visiting www.storystarters.org.uk.

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