Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a great way to introduce children to reading and encourages families to read together. Each month a book is delivered, for free, to residents within a zip code, for all children 0-5 who have enrolled at their local public library. These books include lessons for the parents to teach their children, and are geared to the child’s age and gender. Individual families cannot sign up for this program, it must be ran through a community organization to ensure that children, no matter the income level of their families, has access to books. United Way of Central Kansas is currently funding this program in Ellinwood, KS and Larned, KS, but is hoping to extend the program into Great Bend and Hoisington.
Studies of the Imagination Library show a positive and significant impact in regards to childhood early language and math development, regardless of demographic or socioeconomic factors. By increasing a child’s access to early literacy materials, the child is more prepared for Kindergarten. Kindergarten readiness is linked to future academic achievement and success later in life, which can impact the community in terms of better test scores throughout schooling, lower high school drop-out rates, and lower unemployment rates. The Imagination Library also has been shown to encourage parents to read to their children, increasing bonding time and laying the groundwork for high quality child-parent interactions and increasing the consistent involvement of the parents in the child’s learning and development, which again increases future success for the child throughout school and life success.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library focuses on early childhood literacy with the goal of preparing children for school as early as possible. The program is provided for all children within a covered area, regardless of socioeconomic background or demographics. This provides an even footing for each child in the community. Numerous studies show that the more prepared a child is for Kindergarten, the better they do in that grade level and beyond. By improving access to literacy for young children in our community, we can impact their education throughout schooling and their success after school. The objective for United Way of Central Kansas is to provide the necessary tools to help our children succeed in Kindergarten and beyond. With the success that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has shown, we are confident that teachers across the area will see results from the implementation of this program. These results are seen simply by providing these books to families. By providing these books, children are more interested in reading and parents are more likely to read to their children and that is the first step to improving early childhood literacy.
If you see the importance of early childhood literacy, and would like to make a difference in the life of a child in Central Kansas, you can make a donation to United Way of Central Kansas to help us support this program. With a donation of just $30 a year, you will be making an impact. All you have to do is send a donation to UWCK and note that you would like to support Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.