MONTGOMERY, Ala. — River Region children under the age of five are now eligible to enroll in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, thanks to a new collaboration between the River Region United Way and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is the flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation. It mails free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to children from birth until age five, no matter their family’s income. Since its founding in 1995,
the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gifted nearly 200 million books to children worldwide. This is the first time the Imagination Library has been made available to children in the River Region. RRUW aims to enroll 10,000 children in the program by the end of the year. To register, visit www.rruw.org/DPIL.
“The River Region United Way is excited to partner with the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to offer free books to children in our area,” said Jannah Bailey, the president and CEO of the River Region United Way. “Since its founding, the Imagination Library has been incredibly successful in instilling a lifelong love of reading in children worldwide. We know it will be equally effective here, and I encourage any family interested in creating lifelong memories with their children to register.”
There is no cost to families to join the Imagination Library program. To participate, children must be under the age of five and live in Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Macon, or Montgomery County. Every registered child will receive their first book in eight to ten weeks upon enrollment. Books will continue to arrive at their home every month until they turn five or their family moves out of the River Region.
Bringing the Imagination Library to the River Region has been a priority of the RRUW Board of Directors since the passage of the Alabama Literacy Act in 2019. This law requires all students, beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, to be proficient in reading by the end of the third grade to advance to the fourth grade. RRUW hopes this initiative will help more children find success inside the classroom.
“One of the reasons why some children struggle to learn how to read is because they often lack access to books during the earliest years of life when language skills are being established in their brain,” said W. Rhea Ingram, Ph.D., Chair and Chief Volunteer Officer, River Region United Way Board of Directors. “Research shows that the more exposure we can provide children to books and the more opportunities we can create for adults to read to them, the more likely a child will learn to read by the end of the third grade and thrive in school. Partnering with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is an investment in our area that we cannot afford not to make.”
RRUW’s partnership with the Imagination Library is made possible through a grant from the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.
In addition to registering at www.rruw.org/dpil, individuals and groups interested in supporting the River Region’s continued participation in the Imagination Library can donate by texting Dolly22 to 71777.
Article submitted by River Region United Way
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