Story Starters is designed to boost language and communicative development in a child's early years, giving them the skills to start school ready to read and reach for the stars. 

We know that children develop their language and literacy skills through a long process of preparation and skilled professional teaching. But we understand that there isn’t always time in the home or in the early years settings for every child to receive regular one-to-one attention.

Story Starters gives children the support they need to boost their language development, communication and literacy skills so that they enter school ready to learn.

Our approach is simple but highly effective:

  • Each child supported by our trained Story Starter volunteers receives two 20-minute, one-to-one sessions a week.
  • Our trained Story Starter volunteers create a fun, unpressured environment, taking time to listen and get to know each child.
  • Use conversation and play purposefully to help boost language development and literacy skills.
  • Each child supported will receive an age appropriate, specially selected book per month delivered to their home by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to encourage reading in the home environment.
  • Each early years setting will also receive a book per month for the duration of your time with Story Starters to help build your settings library.
  • We provide early years settings with impact data gathered during your time with the Story Starters service.

Our magic ingredients 

  • Trained, committed volunteers who will give dedicated one-to-one support to children twice per week.
  • Fully funded service provided until 31st March 2019 - no cost to your nursery until then.
  • Relevant support to form part of your Ofsted assessment, including impact measurement.
  • Involvement in an exciting, innovative national trial of a brand new service designed specifically to boost young children’s language development, communication and literacy skills.
  • Our trained volunteers bring their own resources including brilliant age appropriate books and play materials.
  • Build your own library of age appropriate, specially selected books free of charge.
  • Story Starters takes care of the safe recruitment of volunteers – including DBS checks. Read our safeguarding policy and procedures.

If you would like to find out more about Story Starters then please fill in our short enquiry form and we'll get in touch with you!

If you have any questions about Story Starters, please contact or call 0845 450 0301.