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13 April 2018

Learning to read is such a vital life skill for children and experts agree, the earlier they start, the easier it will be for them when they begin school.

IMB Bank Community Foundation last year gave funding to the Macarthur Sunrise Rotary Club in Sydney’s south west to initiate the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in the local area.

Nine months on, this global initiative has been a huge hit with 72 children signed up to be part of the program.

Led by club past president, Cathie Richardson, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library was launched by the country music legend through her Foundation to foster the love of reading in preschool years.

Now in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK – as well as South-Western Sydney thanks to Macarthur Sunrise Rotary Club – thousands of children from birth to five years receive a book in the mail every month.

Parents also receive a note in the package to provide them with tips on how to teach their children to enjoy books and learn to read.

The 72 registered children in the Macarthur region also attend the Wheely Good Fun mobile playgroups, where their parents were given information about the Imagination Library.

“This is such a wonderful initiative and if the parents sign up for it when their children are born, by the time they are five, they have a library of 60 age-appropriate books,” Cathie Richardson said.

“It is also a thrill for the young kids to receive a parcel addressed to them in the post box every month and it provides an opportunity for busy parents to sit down with their children and teach them a really important life skill.”

IMB Bank CEO Robert Ryan congratulated the Macarthur Sunrise Rotary Club for focusing attention on literacy in young children.

“The Dolly Parton Imagination Library enables kids to develop a love of reading and helps them get ready for school.

“Literacy is fundamental to every part of education and life beyond and this program is a brilliant way to engage children early on,” he said.

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