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Henrietta Zalkind: Imagination Library is coming to Twin Counties

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Henrietta Zalkind is executive director of the Down East Partnership for Children.

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BY HENRIETTA ZALKIND
Down East Partnership for Children

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Have you heard that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is coming to Nash and Edgecombe counties? Thanks to the N.C. General Assembly and Smart Start, free books will be heading to the homes of young children under the age of five who sign up for this opportunity.

The Imagination Library is a program created by Dolly Parton to foster a love of reading among children aged birth to five through the gift of a specially selected book delivered right to their home each month.

The Down East Partnership for Children will serve as the local coordinator for this program. It’s simple and easy to register your child. Just go to our website at (www.depc.org, click on the link to the Imagination Library, complete the form and in eight to 10 weeks, your child will receive his/her first book mailed directly to your home — no obligation and no shipping costs. A new book will be delivered each month until your child turns five.

Space is limited, so do not wait to sign up! Please share this information with your friends, grandchildren and neighbors. The only requirements are that you live in either Nash or Edgecombe counties and your child is under the age of five. Please help us get as many books in the hands of children as possible.

Reading is so important to a child’s future success in both school and life. In fact, the single greatest predictor of future academic and career success is reading on grade level by the end of the third grade. We welcome the Imagination Library as a part of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading’s goal to help every child become a successful reader by the end of the third grade. This year, we hope to reach 20 percent of the children who are birth to five years old y the end of June 2018, and we are aiming for 40 percent by the end of June 2019.

This is also a great opportunity join Braswell Memorial Library’s challenge to read 1,000 books with your child before Kindergarten. Think reading 1,000 books before Kindergarten seems too hard? Simply read a book to your newborn, infant, toddler or preschooler. If you read just one book a night, you will have read about 365 books in a year. That is 730 books in two years and 1,095 books in three years. If you consider that most children start kindergarten at around five years of age, you have more time than you think. Visit the library to learn more about this effort and earn prizes.

Teaching children a love of reading begins early and can last a lifetime. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library encourages all parents to do these three important things as a member of the library:

■ 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.

To find out more about Smart Start and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library partnership, visit www.depc.org.

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