Big W’s Free Books for Kids program is returning on Feb. 18, this time partnering with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street.”
“Reading builds school readiness, vocabulary and comprehension skills; it allows the imagination to soar, and it creates bonding time for families,” says Ed Wells, executive vice president, global media and education head, Sesame Workshop. “Simply, reading encourages a lifelong love of learning, something for which ‘Sesame Street’ has done for over 50 years. We’re pleased to partner with Big W, who is also committed to building healthy minds and futures of children in Australia, to make ‘Sesame Street’ books available for free for families.”
The stories will feature “Sesame Street” characters, such as Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster, and will share messages for kids around individuality, dreaming big and understanding differences.
Some special friends of “Sesame Street” with a shared passion for reading and literacy are lending their support to Big W’s program to help the stories reach even more families across Australia. Olivia Newton-John, Rose Byrne, Rove McManus, Mitch Tambo, Gorgi Coghlan, Allison Langdon and Gyton Grantley are some of the personalities who will be hosting storytime readings on Big W’s YouTube channel and the Big W Free Books for Kids Podcast.
“Reading is one of the most important and engaging tools to help with a child’s development, and Big W is proud to partner with leaders in learning and literacy to deliver a collection of books that will not only teach kids valuable lessons about the world around them, but also foster a love of reading,” says Teresa Rendo, acting managing director, Big W. “The extension into video recordings and podcasts also means families from all over Australia can enjoy these stories together.”
In addition to the 2.6 million “Sesame Street” books given away in stores and via streaming options, Big W is further committed to making books for early learning accessible to even more Australians by donating another 40,000 to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation and Good360 for families living in remote and rural areas, and communities in need.
“We’ve seen first-hand how this initiative from Big W is making a real difference to families and we’re delighted to help give the gift of new books to children, some of whom generally don’t have access to such valuable resources,” says Alison Covington, founder and managing director, Good360.
Aussie families can collect each of the eight books from all Big W stores weekly starting Feb. 18 with no purchase necessary (available nationally while stocks last). Weekly storytime video readings will also be available on Big W’s YouTube channel and audio recordings on the “BIG W Free Books for Kids” podcast, which can be found on Acast, Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
“Reading to your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, and we are excited to be part of a project that helps our children to develop into confident, autonomous and happy life-long learners,” says Kim Kelly, co-founder and executive director, Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation. “Together with Big W, we are working to share these fantastic books with the communities that need them the most.”