Read Across America Day highlight: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Education

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tuesday, March 2 marked another year of Read Across America Day engagement, but this year was a little different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, WATE 6 On Your Side anchors, reporters, and WATE 6 Storm Team meteorologists were able to visit local students in their classrooms to read to them. This year, like many things, book readings went virtual.

Also in honor of the reading holiday, we took a look at the work done by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Since its launch in 1995, the organization has given out more than 150 million books to young readers.

Children in the U.S. and four other countries receive the books for free from the time they’re born until they’re five years old.

Studies show reading to young children promotes language development, reading comprehension, and overall success in school. The National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day, is March 2.

Sending books out from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a cause that’s always been near and dear to Dolly’s heart.

“It was really created in honor of her father, who was functionally illiterate and she witnessed that as she was growing up and how that impacted his life and thought, ‘well gosh if we can help kids have books in their home and help them develop a love of reading early in life then that’s where they need to be,'” Jeff Conyers, Dollywood Foundation president, said.

Currently, the Imagination Library give books to 1.7 million children around the world each month.

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