The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is working to improve early childhood literacy across Ohio by joining forces with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide books to babies and young children in Ohio. They are providing books to children each month starting at birth in the hopes that every student enters kindergarten ready to succeed. Their goal is to ensure that kindergartners all begin school with over 60 books in their home.
A 2019 study conducted at The Ohio State University has estimated that young children whose caregivers read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to. Being raised in a literary-rich environment exposes children to more and diverse vocabulary, which may better prepare them for kindergarten and learning to read.
Literacy is one of the greatest predictors of future success. With over 36 million American adults considered functionally illiterate, it’s time to reduce those numbers for future generations.
To Enroll in Imagination Library
The program is available to children from birth – until age 5, regardless of family income level – every household is encouraged to participate. To enroll, fill out this form on the The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library website. Children will receive their first book about 8 weeks after enrollment and will receive a book monthly until their 5th birthday. Every child’s first book is “The Little Engine That Could” and the last book is “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!”
The books are chosen by a panel of early childhood literacy experts based on developmental needs of particular ages through the first five years of life. Children who are different ages when they are enrolled will receive a different set of books over their time in the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. My daughter has been receiving the books for over a year through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and I love the diversity and uniqueness of the books we’ve received. We have hundreds of children’s books in our home, and we’ve only received a duplicate book once.
While the program is still being rolled out across Ohio, all Franklin County and most Central Ohio zip codes should qualify. If you live in an area that isn’t currently served, check back frequently – they expect all Ohio counties to be eligible by the end of 2020.
Goodnight with Dolly Virtual Storytime
Dolly Parton will also read to your children weekly with the virtual Goodnight with Dolly Storytime every Thursday evening through June 4, 2020. See details here.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has provided free books to children since 1995, delivering over 99 million books in over four countries.
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Journal Reference: Jessica A. R. Logan, Laura M. Justice, Melike Yumuş, Leydi Johana Chaparro-Moreno. When Children Are Not Read to at Home. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000657
Study source: Ohio State University. “A ‘million word gap’ for children who aren’t read to at home: That’s how many fewer words some may hear by kindergarten.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190404074947.htm>.