Kids reading from nought to five thanks to Dolly Parton

by Padraig Conlon

A programme backed by one of the world’s greatest ever Country singers is helping thousands of children in Tallaght.

Some 75% of all 0-5 year olds in Dublin 24 have signed up to a local free book scheme, supported by Dolly Parton, since it was launched one year ago this month.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) project is being coordinated by the Tallaght-based Childhood Development Initiative (CDI), to encourage local children to read more.

Emma Reilly, CDI programme coordinator, gave details of the programme’s success as it celebrated its first birthday in Ireland this month.

She said: “An estimated 75% of children aged 0-5 years in Dublin 24, or 5,331 children, have received or are currently receiving books.

“Together with the support of An Post and Tusla, some 33,108 books have been delivered during the past year.”

Parents living in Dublin 24 can sign their children up at

The children will receive a free high-quality book to keep every month until they are aged five, with the books addressed to the child and posted directly to their home.

Emma also highlighted the need for corporate and public support to sustain the programme into the future.

She said: “CDI is the affiliate for the Imagination Library here in Ireland.

“DPIL provides the book ordering system, the branding and the ability to buy books at cost price. CDI, supported by Tusla, buys the books at cost and coordinates programme delivery.

“We will be commencing a major fundraising campaign in the coming weeks and months, looking for corporate and individual sponsorship, with €5 the cost of two books per month.

“CDI is grateful to Shamrock Rovers Football Club, which is actively promoting it in the Tallaght and surrounding [communities] and also to The Rotary Club. Given this success, we are also supporting the expansion of the programme to other parts of the country, and exciting announcements are expected soon.”

CDI is a non-profit organisation working to improve outcomes for children in disadvantaged communities in Ireland.

Established in 2004 in Tallaght, CDI designs, delivers and evaluates prevention and early intervention programmes for children in literacy, health, speech and language, parenting, and conflict prevention.

Among the many benefits of reading is the fact that the more words a child hears in their early childhood, the more words they will have later in childhood.

The human voice in reading and speaking with the child has been found to be critical in children’s language development, as technology does not have the same impact.

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