Councillor Mellen after his first reading session

A Nottingham city councillor has set himself a challenge – to read to 5,000 children over 50 days – in order to show the importance of books in education.

Councillor David Mellen, portfolio holder for early intervention and early years, will raise money through the ‘Big Reading Challenge’ which will be donated to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library charity.

The Imagination Library delivers a free book every month to children from birth to five years old.

The first day of the challenge took place at Green’s Windmill in Sneinton with children from Sneinton CofE Primary.

Councillor Mellen will read to school classes and assemblies, nursery groups and library groups, children’s centres and children in hospital.

“Unfortunately In Nottingham too many of our children start school behind the expected literacy levels.”
councillor david mellen  

The Imagination Library aims to improve children’s literacy levels so that they are more likely to be ready to start school when they turn five.

Set up in 2009, the scheme is now running in seven of the city’s 20 wards and more than 4,000 children are registered.

Councillor Mellen said: “Unfortunately in Nottingham too many of our children start school behind the expected literacy levels.”

Video:Dolly Parton says ‘Ay up mi Duck’ in charity video.

Dolly Parton said: “Hi Nottingham… Congratulations on yet another success! You are truly special because there are not many programs in the world that provide a book each month to over 5,000 children.”

“So thank you from the bottom of my country heart for all you have done to inspire your children to love books and love learning.”

Audio: Councillor Mellen says the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is close to his heart.

This challenge follows the success of his first challenge in January 2018 where he read to 2,018 children in one month.

Councillor Mellen reading to children at the top Green’s windmill in Sneinton

Councillor Mellen said: “Reading to 5,000 children over 50 days is an ambitious challenge but it’s a cause I feel strongly about. I hope that I am able to raise funds to give even more children the best start in life.”

Councillor Mellen is hoping to raise at least £5,000.

  • £2 can pay for a child to get a new book
  • £25 can pay for a child to get a new book each month for a year
  • £125 pays for a child to get a book every month from birth until their fifth birthday

You can donate here on JustGiving.