Dolly Parton’s ‘Imagination Library’ Reading Program Comes to Missouri


Country music artist Dolly Parton’s father could not read or write.

“He was the smartest man I’ve ever known, but I know in my heart that his inability to read probably kept him from achieving all his dreams,” Parton told the Imagination website. Library.

Inspiring children to love reading has become her mission. In 1995, she started a children’s literacy effort, called Imagination Library.

“Before he died, my dad told me that the Library of Imagination was probably the most important thing I’ve ever done. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me because I did created the Imagination library as a tribute to my dad,” she said.

The program offers free books each month to children from birth to five years old. Today, Imagination Library covers five countries and offers more than one million books per month.

A new state law will allow Missouri to offer this program statewide by partnering with Imagination Library to share the cost. It designates at least $5 million in state funding each year to help with the effort.

Pam Thomas, assistant commissioner for the Missouri Children’s Bureau, said the Imagination Library is part of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s priority for early learning and literacy.

“This project will help us get books into the hands of families,” she said. “Getting books into the hands of infants, toddlers and preschoolers at a young age is directly related to their readiness to read.

About 450,000 Missouri children could sign up for books each month.

“We know it’s not just access to words, affirmations and familiarity with reading,” she said. “Put a book in the hands of children helps them to read. Holding a book, turning the page, those kinds of motor and tactile skills that you have in reading, and that opportunity for families to connect and have positive engagement with their child and develop that social and language skill that you get from reading.”

Deployment is expected to begin next summer.

“We will look to some of our community leaders, some of our nonprofit programs in local communities in every county across the state, school districts, our parent education program, and other early childhood programs. childhood that reach families. We will be consulting with them to help us spread the word and direct families to the website to register,” Thomas said.

The Dollywood Foundation selects the books and sends them directly to the children.

For more information on Imagination Library, click here.

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