Dolly PartonDolly Parton gives away books to disadvantaged Scottish children... it's one of the more bizarre stories we've come across in a while.

The project is called the Imagination Library and will give a free book a month to over 3,300 children in care in Scotland until their fifth birthday. The scheme is part of a partnership between the Dollywood Foundation, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Book Trust.

Dolly told reporters: 'I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful effort. Much of my music has been inspired by Scotland so it's only right that we are now in a position to bring more joy into the lives of the nation's looked after children. From the bottom of my country heart, I want to thank the Scottish Government and the Scottish Book Trust for asking us to be part of something so special.'

The Imagination Library project is a worldwide initiative to help cared-for children under five build up their own personal library. It is hoped the scheme will improve youngsters' literacy and encourage adults to read with them.

Adam Ingram, the Scottish children's minister. said such schemes can make a real difference to children's lives: 'The right support and care can make a real difference to children's future health, well-being and attainment, and it is particularly important to ensure looked after children get the same help so they can enjoy the same life chances as their peers.'

'Research also shows that children whose parents and carers talk to them frequently have better language skills than those who do not and that the presence of books in the home can have an important impact on long term achievement.'

What do you think about this story?
Has reading made a huge difference to your child's life?
Should such iniatives be encouraged, or are they a waste of money?

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