GREENVILLE — Newborns at Wayne HealthCare will soon receive their first book from Darke County United Way’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
“Darke County United Way and Wayne HealthCare are partnering to provide Darke County newborns with their very first book from the grant funded Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library,” said Christy Baker, Darke County United Way executive director. “It’s an early literacy program where the child receives a book every month.”
In 1995, Dolly Parton launched the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide children with the free gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.
According to its website, Dolly’s Imagination Library became so popular that in 2000, Parton announced that she would make the program available for replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it locally. Since the program began, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has mailed more than 60 million books to children in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Currently, more than 1,600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to 750,000 children each month. Independent reports have shown Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library drastically improves early childhood literacy for children enrolled in the program. Further studies have shown improved scores during early literacy testing.
“The Imagination Library encourages parents to read to children, to introduce letters, numbers, shapes, even before school starts,” Baker said. “It’s important to have that strong foundation and to encourage kids to read.”
Baker added that approximately 300 books will be distributed to newborns each year and the Greyson James Steyer Memorial Fund is helping cover the additional costs. Books, or funds, can also be donated to the Darke County United Way to be distributed.
Books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are available to preschool children until their fifth birthday and they must register with the Darke County United Way. They also must be a resident of Darke County. After registering, children can expect to see their first book between eight and 10 weeks.
For more information, contact the Darke County United Way at 937-547-1272 or visit www.darkecountyunitedway.org.
This writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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