INTERNATIONAL country and western superstar Dolly Parton has inspired an MP to do Something Special in Whitley.

A fan told Reading West MP Martin Salter about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which aims to raise literacy standards in young children by sending them a book every month until their fifth birthday.

Mr Salter has since spent the last year arranging for the initiative to start at Whitley's pre-schools on May 24.

Since the singer songwriter launched the library in 1996, millions of books have been delivered across America and Canada, and two years ago the scheme was introduced to Rotherham in Yorkshire.

Mr Salter said: "By no stretch of the imagination would I call myself a fan of country and western music, but I am a massive admirer of Dolly Parton and all she has achieved, both in her own life and in the way she has sought to improve educational opportunities for millions of young children.

"This scheme, which will begin in Whitley, in the heart of my constituency, has the potential to make a real difference for hundreds of local youngsters.

"After all, if education is the route to opportunity, then literacy is the route into making the most of your education.

"I am very grateful to my colleague and Dolly fan, Sam Dowling, from the Royal Mail, who took time out at the end of a furious row I was having with her bosses over the proposed closure of post offices in Tilehurst to tell me about plans by the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to expand into the UK.

"I heard that they were looking for a supportive MP and a town with a can-do attitude.

"I made it clear that she need look no further than Reading."