What is Dolly Parton's Imagination Library?
In 1996, Dolly Parton launched Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Dolly's vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the 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 to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.
Dolly’s Imagination Library became so popular that in the year 2000 she announced that she would make the program available for replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it locally.
The program provides children with a free book every month from birth until their fifth birthday. The goal is to enable children to read age appropriate books by the time they enter school.
Almost 700,000 children under the age of five, in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, receive books from the Imagination Library each month. Over 40,000,000 books have been mailed to children since the program began in 1996.
How does it work?
A local champion agrees to secure the funding and manage the program.
TFAE is proud to be the champion for this program in Terrebonne Parish. Partnering with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library makes it possible for us to provide the books to the community in the most cost effective manner. As the local champion, TFAE promotes the program, registers children and secures funding to continue the program.
Why invest in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library?
Research shows preparing babies and young children to succeed in school and life have profound impacts on the economy. Economists are saying that one of the best bets for economic development is investing in early learning. Early learning contributes to the economy in two ways. It saves money by reducing crime, teen pregnancy, and welfare dependency. It also generates revenue by paving the way for higher educational attainment and a resulting increase in earning potential.
Preparing children for success is far more that just a family matter.
*The majority of 4th or 8th graders are not proficient in both math and reading in any state.
*Most children reading well below grade level at the end of 4th grade will not graduate from high school.
*A 2006 survey of students in 30 developed countries found that U.S. 15 year olds ranked 25th in math and 21st in science.
*Only 25% of 17-24 year olds would qualify to serve in the U.S. military. The rest cannot meet the physical, behavioral or educational standards for service--standards that are similar to those many industries use in hiring.
*20% of U.S. workers are functionally illiterate.
Reversing these trends requires starting early. The foundation of skills required to be successful in school, work and life is built in the youngest years--birth to age five.
Nobel laureate economist James Heckman is one of the nation's leading experts on the impact of high quality early education on work force productivity and economic develop. Heckman says the first five years of life are critical for establishing how a child will fare in school and ultimately in life. He says the evidence suggests that a child's early environment plays a powerful role in shaping adult outcomes.
Part of early childhood learning includes reading. Teaching your child to read early and well has multiple benefits and is the key to your child's academic future. A few of those benefits are:
*Reading helps develop a young child's brain. In the first 6 years, children learn at a much faster pace than at any other time in their lives.
*reading opens the door to your child's early academic success, imparts a love of learning and leads to higher grades in every subject.
*A child who learns to read joyfully at home, at an early age, with a loving parent or caregiver, grows in self-confidence and independence.
*Early reading ignites a child's creativity and imagination.
For an investment that holds it's value..invest in our children's early learning.
According to U.S. Census data, there are 8,170 children under the age of 5 in Terrebonne Parish. The goal is to have 70% (5,719) registered in the program by 2017.
The program was implemented in Terrebonne Parish in August of 2012. It was projected that 1,634 children would be registered in the first year. We surpassed that number within nine months of implementing the program.
TFAE and these community partners are committed to funding Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in Terrebonne Parish: The Bayou Community Foundation, Joseph L. Waitz, District Attorney, Rotary Club of Houma, Fourchon Oilman’s Association, Inc., Wal-Mart Foundation & Facility 6521, Stephanie Hebert Allstate Insurance Foundation, SCIA, Bayou Pediatrics Associates APMC, Miles Forrest, and Coastal Commerce Bank.
The first book received is The Little Engine That Could and the last book received is Kindergarten Here I Come.
A donation of $25 will enable a child to receive a brand-new, age-appropriate book in the mail once a month for one year. We welcome any contributions.
100% of your contribution will go directly to providing the books to preschool children. All donations are tax deductible.
If you would like to help TFAE support this program in our community, please make your check payable to TFAE.
Mail to: TFAE/Imagination Library
P.O. Box 1503
Houma, LA 70361
(Information gathered from the Institute For a Competitive Workforce, www.teachreadingearly.com, and www.mycommunityvoice.com)