Fredonia’s young readers reach 10,000 books with ‘Imagination Library’Free Access

Few educators would argue that literacy — the ability to read and write — is the foundation for lifelong learning. And it’s never too soon to start teaching children to read and to enjoy books by reading to, and later with, them.

And it’s never too soon to start teaching children to read and to enjoy books by reading to, and later with, them.

Singer Dolly Parton grew up in the hills of east Tennessee with a father who could not read or write. Inspired by her desire to not only reinforce the importance of reading, but also to help young children find joy in books, Parton launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 1995. The program allows children from birth to age 5 to receive a free book eachmonth, specially selected and geared to their age group, to foster an earlylove of reading as well as promoting family time involving books.

Imagination Library has grown, in less than 30 years, to provide more than 178 million books to nearly two million children in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland.

Fredonia got involved with Imagination Library in November 2015 through the efforts of Library Director Michelle Hulse and a local anonymous donor; recently, local children reached the 10,000-book mark.

The love of reading begins, Hulse points out, on your lap — as parents and grandparents, even child care providers are the very earliest collaboratorswith children and books.

A study from Ohio State University points out that young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten havingheard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to.

In addition to reading books, activities like talking, singing, reading, storytelling, drawing and writing help to develop children’s literacy. For babies and younger children, nursery rhymes, sound games, and books with rhyme, rhythm and repetition are good for building a foundation of literacy. For school children, looking for words in billboards, signs and supermarket items can reinforce the importance of strong literacy skills.

Parton herself has said that the seeds of dreams thatchildren have to become doctors, inventors, ministers, writers or singers are often found in books.

“The seeds you plant in your community can grow across the world.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *