Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school, no matter their family’s income.
After launching in 1995, the program grew quickly. First books were only distributed to children living in Sevier County, Tennessee where Dolly grew up. It became such a success that in 2000 a national replication effort was underway. By 2003, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library had mailed one million books. It would prove to be the first of many millions of books sent to children around the world.
Dolly’s home state of Tennessee pledged to pursue statewide coverage in 2004 and global expansion was on the horizon. After the United States, the program launched in Canada in 2006 followed by the United Kingdom in 2007 and Australia joined in 2013.
All children enrolled in the Imagination Library receive a book in the post every month until their 5th birthday. Every book is personally addressed to each individual child. All titles in the Imagination Library are published by Penguin Random House and carefully selected by a panel of experts in early childhood literacy and reading.
A child enrolled from birth to their fifth birthday will build their own home library of up to 60 books. The books are posted to the child at a cost of £2.08 this is excellent value for money
The programme is completely free for children and their families.
Exploring How The Imagination Library Impacts Communities
The Imagination Library began with Dolly Parton’s desire that every child, regardless of income, would have access to books. Since its founding, the Dollywood Foundation has conducted and encouraged research on the Imagination Library program in an effort to assess communities’ reactions to the program and its impact on children literacy. The majority of this research has been implemented at the local community level, by program staff or local researchers, to provide formative and summative feed back to support local Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) implementations. The Dollywood Foundation initiated a review of over 20 years of research conducted on Imagination Library programs in the U.S. and internationally. The findings from the body of DPIL research indicate the program is extremely popular in the communities where its implemented and shows promise in promoting changes in home literacy environments, children’s attitudes toward reading, and early literacy skills.
Richer Home Literacy Environments
Improving Attitudes & Skills
3 To 5 Years Old
Continue reading to your child as he/she ages. Children continue to benefit from being read to in the pre-school years, building essential early literacy skills as they grow into readers.
Read to your child every day. Children who have high interest in reading
are read to every day, often by multiple people.
Make reading a regular event that everyone participates in.
Read books multiple times. Reading the same book over (and over)
encourages children to participate in the reading activity through
contributing to the “reading” and asking questions.
Think about it!
Ask your child questions about the characters or the story that require
predicting, imagining, or making inferences.
Examples: How do you think Madeline feels right now? If you were Peter Rabbit, what would you do?
Make it relevant!
Relate books to your child’s life.
Example: Can you think of a time you were reluctant to try something new like Little Burro?
Begin with sounds!
Point out beginning sounds.
Example: Did you hear a word that started with the same MMMMM sound as your name?
Practice letter names.
Example: Name the letters you recognize on the cover of the book.
Encourage your child to read common words.
Example: This word, t-h-e, is the. Help me read “the” when you see it in the book.
Respond to your child’s questions about letters, numbers, and reading.
Our Program with the Imagination Library
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