Our award-winning Reading from the Start project has been supporting families with children under five to foster a love of books and learning.

This year, 51 volunteers hosted interactive weekly reading corner sessions in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Thamesmead, Waltham Forest and Islington, encouraging a love of reading and books in children through arts and crafts, singing and reading.

In partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and VINCI Facilities, we’ve provided almost 500 children with a free book straight to their door every month, removing the financial barriers to reading and addressing the growing gap in literacy and educational attainment in early years. 

Reading_from_the_StartPeabody resident Rebecca Verlander, mother of 2-year-old Brenden, has been registered with the project for 14 months. Here’s what she had to say:  “Since registering for Reading from the Start’s free books, we now have a book shelf in the living room where we are building a large selection of books. Brenden chooses different stories from the book shelf, bringing me his favourite books for me to read every day.

This is a massive change; he never used to ask to read books before. He gets excited every time a new one arrives. Brenden is speech delayed and reading has really helped improve his vocabulary. I’ve noticed that his behaviour has changed quite a lot too, he enjoys all the different stories and he listens, joins in and engages. He’s just a lot more calm and responsive. I also feel more confident reading books with Brenden.

I was getting sick of reading the same books to him over and over again but now we have a variety of books, I enjoy our time reading together much more.”