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Better Start Imagine changing lives

Over 1,000 babies are now receiving a free book every month as part of Better Start Bradford’s free book giving project, Better Start Imagine. In this blog two parents, Noshi Iqbal and Darryl Young, share how Better Start Imagine has made a difference to their lives.

Noshi’s blog

Better Start Imagine has changed my baby son Salman’s life for the better. Salman (14 months) was only seven months old when he attended a rhyme time session on a Friday morning at Bolling Hall Library. Those 45 minutes in Salman’s life were the start of a love for books and nursery rhymes. He was signed up to the Better Start Imagine free book giving scheme, which is part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination library. Every month since then he receives a free new book through the post and will continue to do so until the age of five. Salman looks forward to the books through the post every month and they are tailored to his age. He has had In the Night Garden, Peek-a-boo books, Spot the Dog, and various themes for example: learning about the body and gestures, and a crocodile teaching how to your brush teeth.

We always make an effort to attend a rhyme time session somewhere!

Salman, age 14 months

We have a good time reading and acting out the various scenes. The rhyme time sessions are carried out at various libraries across Bradford and due to work shifts we have attended sessions at Bolling Hall, Laisterdyke and Manningham Libraries. Despite my work commitments, we always make an effort to attend a rhyme time session somewhere!

The Better Start Imagine staff bring sensory toys to the rhyme time session and have puppets to re-enact the rhyme. We sing songs and the repetition of the rhymes week after week is helping Salman with his language development.  He can say ‘star’ from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, does the ‘shh shh shh’ in Wheels on the Bus, and can do the gestures to Wind the Bobbin Up. At the library Salman has been signed up to the national Book Trust scheme. He has his own library card and passport book: for each library visit on taking a book out, or attending a rhyme time session, he gets a stamp in his passport, which leads to gifts after every six stamps.

As a parent I’m so happy that Salman is so interested in reading and learning

Salman loves receiving books for presents and now has over 150 books in his own little library in his bedroom. I want to thank the Better Start Imagine team for a great seven months and the wonderful start to Salman’s life which will be the foundation to studying and learning. As a parent I’m so happy that Salman is so interested in reading and learning and hopefully will grow up to be a very intelligent man.

Darryl’s blog

Fawzan Young enjoying Rhyme Time

We started attending the rhyme time and storytelling sessions after we saw an advert for Better Start Imagine at our local library, Laisterdyke Library.

My wife and I regularly attend the sessions with our children Fawzan, 3, and Safa, 16 months. I have to make sure that we get to a rhyme time or storytelling at least once a week. They give us time together to learn and create new ways to read. We have seen our children’s social skills develop and we love to simply watch them watching the story teller attentively and excitedly.

Not only do our children love to read the books, they are also building their knowledge and skills

Not only do our children love to read the books, they are also building their knowledge and skills. Through the ‘My Body’ book, Fawzan is always asking about his body and Safa has learned to brush her teeth through reading ‘Snap Croc’. She now absolutely loves crocodiles!

We all love going to the sessions: the Better Start Imagine staff make you feel very relaxed and you get to know other parents in the area. It’s not tense for dads like many other sessions that I have been to, and most importantly you get to see your child learn and have fun on their own, with others, and their daddy!