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Better Start Imagine helping to develop language and literacy skills in children under four

Mona Shah, 29, who lives in Bradford Moor has signed up her baby son Hamsa, seven months, to Better Start Imagine. Better Start Imagine is a free book scheme operating in the Better Start Bradford area that will provide Hamsa with an age appropriate book every month until his fourth birthday.

Every child born after 1 January 2016 in the Better Start Bradford area (Bowling & Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton wards of Bradford) can be signed up to the scheme, and receive a book each month until their fourth birthday.

“Some children see a book and don’t know what to do with it and that is really sad”

Mona, who was born in Germany, said: “Books were always a big part of my family in Germany, but because I was dyslexic, I was never really into reading, but I really loved being read to.

“Hamsa may be too young to read, but he loves lifting the flaps and looking at the pictures. He likes listening to my voice as I describe what he is looking at. Books are so important in helping to develop his language sand literacy skills.”

She goes on to say: “Some children see a book and don’t know what to do with it and that is really sad. I would recommend Better Start Imagine to all of my friends, we have had some lovely books so far including Peter Rabbit and Hamsa’s favourite: Spot says Goodnight.”

“It’s never too early to start reading with your baby”

Michaela Howell, programme director of Better Start Bradford, says: “We want to make sure children in our part of Bradford and beyond have the best possible start in life, and a big part of that is enabling them to be imaginative and creative, and developing important literacy skills.

“One of our programme aims is for more children to enter school with the communication and language skills they need to actively enter this stage of learning and to develop effective relationships. Better Start Imagine is one of many projects that we are delivering to help achieve this goal and we encourage parents to sign up their babies to the scheme. It’s never too early to start reading with your baby and it’s also a great way of bonding with your baby as well.”

Better Start Imagine  provides free books each month to families with children under four in the Better Start Bradford area (Bowling & Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton wards of Bradford – There is a postcode checker on the website www.betterstartbradford.org.uk) to help them read with their child and develop their language and literacy skills. Better Start Imagine is part of the International Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and is delivered by BHT Early Education and Training.

Each month a new book is delivered through the post to the child’s home, this has been carefully selected and is appropriate for the age of the child. Families can look forward to a range of popular books, with characters including Peter Rabbit, Spot the dog and Iggle Piggle.



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