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Small yearly donation can help provide gift of literacy

Staff Report • Mar 30, 2012 at 8:36 AM

You can give children in Tennessee a lifetime of opportunities by donating to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Donors can now make tax-deductible contributions to the Imagination Library program simply by visiting www.governorsfoundation.org — the official website of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation — and clicking on the “give” icon.

The foundation will send a book to a child, along with a letter acknowledging your gift on his or her behalf.

Created by Parton in 1996, the Imagination Library provides one new, age-appropriate, hardcover book each month to children from birth to age 5 at no cost to the family — regardless of income.

The foundation has joined with Parton to make the literacy program available to children across Tennessee. The program’s goal is to have children reading at grade level by the 3rd grade.

Officials say more than 188,000 already have graduated from a program that has delivered more than 11 million books to children in Tennessee since the governor’s foundation was created in 2004.

A donation of $24 annually provides for the purchase and delivery of 12 books to one child. This cost is covered by the governor’s foundation and a nonprofit sponsoring organization in every Tennessee county. As a result, every dollar you donate to your local county’s Imagination Library is matched dollar for dollar by the state.

The gift of literacy is one a child will profit from throughout his or her life. A recent study conducted by the Tennessee Board of Regents shows that Pre-K and kindergarten teachers both say children who receive books from Imagination Library perform “better than expected” compared to children who are not involved with the program.

The American Library Association has urged “parents, educators, librarians and anyone who supports literacy must act now to ensure that future generations see reading as a dynamic, engaging activity.” The ALA believes one way to do that is to make sure libraries in this country “are well-funded and staffed by qualified professionals who have a passion for making everyone — child, teen or adult — into a lifelong reader.” Good idea. So are programs like the  Imagination Library

To learn how to support your county’s Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit www.governorsfoundation.org, or call 877-99-BOOKS.

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