United Way of Central Kansas is striving to increase literacy rates across Barton and Pawnee Counties, and they are doing it with Community Impact Programs.
UWCK has a deep belief that childhood literacy has a major impact on the future success of our children of today and we hope that through these programs which provide access to litercy materials, regardless of socioeconomic factors, we can be a part of ensuring that the children in our area are ready for Kindergarten. Kindergarten readiness is linked to future academic achievement and success later in life, which can impact the community as a whole, in terms of better test scores throughout schooling, lower high school drop-out rates, and lower unemployment rates. These programs include Literacy Kits and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.
United Way of Central Kansas has organized, prepared, and distributed Literacy Kits to area schools since 2016, averaging nearly 400 kits each year. These kits are designed to help Pre-K students and their families get ready for Kindergarten and spend quality time together before the children head off to school. The kits include a book, worksheets to practice writing their alphabet, flashcards for numbers and letters, and lists recommended by the local Kindergarten teachers to help the students be prepared to enter school; all in an adorable monkey drawstring bag. United Way of Central Kansas distributed these at all the Kindergarten Round-Ups in Ellinwood, Hoisington, Larned, & Great Bend to all the children who attend their Round-Up.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
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.
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.
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.