Reading aloud to children is not only fun – it can help your child succeed later in life. Children whose parents read to them have an advantage when it comes to learning to talk, relating to the mother or the father, and making sense of the world. Sitting down with a copy of Make way for ducklings or good night moon may even help prevent aggression and hyperactivity and improve a child's attention span, according to studies.
Most parents understand the value of reading aloud to children – three quarters have begun to read to their children before the age of one, according to the Scholastic Reading for Children and Families Report. But not all families have access to a wide variety of books. Children living in households with incomes less than $ 35,000 a year had only half as many books as those living in six-figure households.
Public libraries can help fill the gap, but they are not always enough. Enter Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which sends free books to children in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
How Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Works
In 1995, Parton launched a monthly book offer in his hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee. The goal was to stimulate the love of reading in all preschool children. Soon, the program began to grow.
"Inspiring children to love reading has become my mission," Parton said. "At first, my hope was simply to inspire children in my home country, but here we are today with a worldwide program that gives a book a month to more than 1 million children.
Today, Parton's Imagination Library has sent more than 112 million books to children and families around the world. The organization coordinates book selections and correspondence while local partners cover part of the cost of buying and sending the books.
How to get free books for your child
Every month, from birth to age five, the Imagination Library sends a free personalized book to every child enrolled in the program. There are no revenue requirements to participate, but as a local partner organization is required, free books are not available in all communities. To find out if your child qualifies for free books, do a search on the Imagination Library website or use the map to find an affiliate in your area.
Once you find your local partner, you can fill out a registration form. Some affiliates allow you to register online, but you may need to print the form and send it by email or register it in person. Upon completion of your registration, you should start receiving books.
If there is no Imagination Library program in your community, you can work with the organization to start one.
What books will my son receive from Dolly's Imagination Library?
The first book every child receives is The small engine that could by Watty Piper. The last book sent is Look out the kindergarten, here I come! by Nancy Carlson. In the meantime, children receive books chosen by a team of children's literature specialists who focus on themes of inspiration and imagination.
This year's books include The snowy day, the Gruffalo, tale of Peter Rabbit, Lama, Red Pajamas, Lhasa, and Dolly herself Coat of many colors.
Every book a child receives is designed to promote their love or reading – and prepare them for a world where literacy is essential. Parton recognized the importance of literacy after seeing his own father struggle with his inability to read.
"If you can read, even if you can not afford to pay for education, you can learn about anything you want to know. There's a book about everything, "she told NPR." So I think it's important for kids to be encouraged to read, dream and plan for a better life and a better future. "