Some of our most cherished memories are of “storytime” with someone special ~ usually our parents, sometimes grandparents or even older siblings. These memories bring back the best of childhood; a feeling of peacefulness and security even as we were swept up in the imaginary world spread out before us on the printed page.
It’s sad to think that many, far too many of our children here in Northeast Arkansaas never have this experience because they have no books in their homes. Did you know that 35% of kindergartners arrive at school unprepared to learn? The key to literacy is to start at birth. Children develop much of their capacity to learn in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90% of their eventual adult weight. The more words a child hears, the larger the child’s vocabulary; the larger the child’s vocabulary the more likely the child will be a proficient reader. However, in order to read with a child, books must be in the home. In a 1991 study by Needlman, parents given books were four times more likely to read and share books with their children. This rate increased to eight times more likely with lower income parents.
United Way of Northeast Arkansas is changing that for hundreds of those children by bringing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library directly to them. Through this program, children under five years old receive an age-appropriate hardcover book in the mail every month, mailed to their homes with their name on it. United Way has been targeting this program in low-income areas through preschools such as Headstart to attempt to serve those children most in need.
To enroll a child in the imagination library contact the office at 870.935.3658 or email us at email@example.com.