New program on P.E.I. mails free books to kids 5 and under

The P.E.I. Literacy Alliance launched a new program on Wednesday that mails free books to kids under the age of five.

'It's meant to inspire a love of reading and encourage families to read more together'

'It's specifically focused on getting literacy resources into the hands of families,' says Amanda Beazley. (Ken Linton/CBC)

The P.E.I. Literacy Alliance launched a new program Wednesday that mails books to kids under the age of five for free. 

"We're really excited to bring this program to P.E.I.," said Amanda Beazley, the family literacy director with the P.E.I. Literacy Alliance.

"We've had our eye on it for a while."

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program provides free books to kids in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Republic of Ireland and Canada.

'There's no charge at all,' says Amanda Beazley with the P.E.I. Literacy Alliance. 'The books are high quality, they're age appropriate.' (CBC)

Currently, Beazley said funding is in place to supply books to 2,000 children across the Island. But, the plan over the next three years is to grow that number to 4,000.

"Right now it's first-come, first-served," she said. 

"We're continually working on garnering more funding so that we can expand."

Free to families

Beazley said each month children registered will receive high-quality, age-appropriate books in the mail. And if the family has children of various ages under five, each child will receive a different book.

It's also completely free to families.

"It's kind of neat to use the snail mail system," said Beazley. "I don't think there's a lot of kids that are getting letters and packages in the mail, so that's pretty exciting for kids as well."

The program, Beazley said, was made possible with support from rotary clubs on P.E.I., the provincial government and Sen. Diane Griffin. 

"It's a really exciting initiative that puts books in kids' hands," said Beazley. "It's meant to inspire a love of reading and encourage families to read more together."

Those interested in registering can do so on the P.E.I. Literacy Alliance website or on Dolly Parton's Imagination Library website (see links below). 

More from CBC P.E.I

With files from Angela Walker


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