Char-Em United Way is the proud sponsor of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for Charlevoix & Emmet Counties. The program provides a free, age-appropriate book each month to children from birth to age 5.
- The program is free to all kids birth to age 5 who live in Charlevoix or Emmet Counties or who participate in a pre-school program but live in an adjacent county.
- The books are mailed each month directly to the child at his or her home.
- There is no income eligibility. The program is free to all children regardless of ability to pay.
Imagine the magic when kids run to kindergarten bookshelves, pick up a familiar book and say "I have this book!" and then every other kid in the room says, "me too!" Teachers tell us this level of shared experience and vocabulary makes a world of difference in the success of our schools by eliminating the current three-year discrepancy seen in pre-literacy skills. And the research shows teachers' instinct are correct: with as little as four months of Imagination Library home delivery, a 28.9% increase in kindergarten preparedness was measured in Onondaga County, NY! Our local schools are partnering with us to show measure the impact locally.
Why is reading so important at this age?
- Reading books help essential brain development, with 90% of eventual adult brain growth is achieved the first three years of a child’s life
- A child develops language skills long before being able to speak, literacy skills long before they are able to read, and reading books help develop healthy physical and emotional responses
- Helps ensure children enter kindergarten with a strong ability to read and an eagerness to learn
- Strengthens the literacy level in our community
- Promotes parent-child interaction and bonding
- DPIL communities report families read more to their children, reading scores have mproved, children are excited and better prepared to go to school
- CEUW has decided that investment in early childhood literacy will provide one of the best ‘return on investment’ we can get.
Beyond the Books -- We know it’s not enough to just mail the books to kids
The project also includes:
- Family literacy activities
- Partnerships with Head Starts, other pre-schools
- Library programs
- “Graduation” activities
- Mailings with tips and invitations for parents
Want to help?
Registration for the program has greatly outpaced our projections and budget. Please conisder making a donation to support books for one or more kids or just make a general donation.
It costs $30/year to enroll a child - $150 over the five year period.
Donate to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
Click Here to donate in memory of a loved one.
We thank the Petoskey Harbor Springs Community Foundation for their support of this program with a 2016-17 grant, approved by their Youth Advisory Council