Free Books for Newborns: Newborn children in the Cumberland City Local Government Area this year can enrich their early literacy skills by taking part in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

This free book-gifting program is devoted to inspiring a love of reading from a young age by sending a brand new, age-appropriate book in the mail, each month to every registered child, until they turn five.

The package will also be accompanied with information and advice for parents on engaging with their child while reading aloud.

The early literacy intervention program is a joint initiative between Cumberland City Council, Western Sydney Local Health District and United Way Australia, designed to help develop better educational outcomes for children.

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Cumberland City Mayor Lisa Lake said early childhood literacy is critical for brain and language development.

“Early childhood census data shows children in the Cumberland Local Government Area are lagging below the state average when it comes to literacy and communication skills. This is a practical approach to better equip young children and provide them with the resources to advance their literacy skills,” said Mayor Lake.

The program, founded by the iconic singer Dolly Parton over 20-years ago, has seen over 160 million books delivered to children in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Cumberland City Council along with Western Sydney Local Health District and United Way will be launching the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program at Merrylands Library on Wednesday March 30.

Parents are also being encouraged to register their child into the program through the online parent portal, or at their nearest Cumberland City Library.

For more information contact Council’s Children Services team on 8757 9000 or visit one of Cumberland City Council’s eight libraries.