September is Basic Education and Literacy Month

September is Basic Education and Literacy Month

Education and Literacy Month

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.

Positive Perceptions

  • Participating family members were overwhelmingly positive about the program and its impact on their children when asked in questionnaires, interviews and focus groups.

  • Community members, including Imagination Library partners and preschool and kindergarten teachers, also had positive views of the program and its impact on book ownership and literacy practices in homes.

  • The positive views of the program and its impacts were present regardless of the demographic characteristics of the community or its participants, and longer program participation often resulted in more positive outcomes.

Richer Home Literacy Environments

  • Parents read aloud more to their children and were more comfortable reading as a result of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

  • Parents reported their children owned more books as a result of participating in the program.

Improving Attitudes & Skills

  • Parents believed their children were more interested in reading due to receiving the books each month.

  • Participating children were excited when their Imagination Library books arrived in the mail monthly, addressed specifically to the child.

  • Some studies found Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library had promise with respect to developing children’s early literacy skills, as participants had more advanced skills than their classmates who did not participate in the program.

Dolly Parton,s Imagination Library

Imagination Library has lots of experience with caregivers, children, and reading. We encourage good reading habits for parents, caregivers, and their children. When your child receives their Imagination Library books, we ask you to do the following:

  • Begin reading to your child immediately

  • Read to your child at least five days per week

  • Read books multiple times

Birth To 2 Years Old

Begin reading to your child immediately. It may seem silly to read to very young children, but it will help you bond with your child and establish an important foundation for future learning. The earlier you start, the better the results!

Read to your child every day. Children who are avid readers were read to every day from a very young age. Make reading a regular event in your home.

Read books multiple times. Reading the same book over (and over) reinforces language development and encourages children
to participate in the reading activity.

Reading = snuggling!

Read for short periods with your child on your lap or next to you. Being close to you is likely as important as the reading.

Keep books handy!

Set up a space to keep your child’s books where they will be accessible.

Be flexible!

Take a break if your child is unhappy or fussy. Read multiple times per day for short periods rather than one longer period if that works better.

2 To 3 Years Old

  • Begin reading to your child immediately. It’s never too early to start reading to your child. Reading to very young children helps develops early literacy skills.

  • Read to your child every day. Children who are avid readers were read to every day from a very young age. Make reading a regular event in your home.

  • Read books multiple times. Reading the same book over (and over) builds vocabulary and encourages children to participate in the reading activity.

Ask questions!

Ask your child simple questions about the book.
Examples: What was your favorite part of the book? Where did Corduroy go when he explored the store?

Notice letters!

Point out letters in the text. Example: Let’s find the m’s on this page.

Flip it!

Have your child open the cover and turn the pages of the book while you read.

Name it!

Ask your child to name items in the pictures before reading the text.

Chime in!

Encourage your child to “read” with you on familiar books and repetitive text.

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?

Name it!

Practice letter names.
Example: Name the letters you recognize on the cover of the book.

Read it!

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.

Encourage curiosity!

Respond to your child’s questions about letters, numbers, and reading.

Teaching and learning are powerful drivers to enable better futures.

We believe education is a right, regardless of where you live or how old you are.

Everyone should have the opportunity to learn, and those skills ripple through communities and change people’s lives.

Educating the world

Worldwide, 250 million children don’t have basic reading or maths skills.

Rotary projects and activities help to give children access to an education for the very first time.

We build schools, we supply books and computers for classrooms and we train teachers.

Our work is not just about children. Major problems exist in all age groups, with 17% of the world’s adult population being illiterate. That is 775 million people.

We are dedicated to inspiring and facilitating learning at all ages.

As a member of Rotary, you can educate and uplift students from across the globe, reduce gender disparity in education and inspire the next generation.