United Way of Summit County’s Imagination Library program achieved a significant milestone this month by surpassing 10,000 registered participants – a number that represents a more than 60 percent increase over the last year and nearly a third of the approximately 31,000 eligible preschoolers in Summit County.
Imagination Library mails a brand new, age-appropriate book every month to preschool-aged children. There is no cost to families to participate in the program, and every child from birth through age 5 living in Summit County is eligible to register.
Singer Dolly Parton created the program more than 20 years ago in honor of her father, who couldn’t read.
Research shows that reading aloud is the single most important thing a parent can do to help prepare a child for learning. Children with books in their homes are 17 percent more likely to succeed in school. Yet, nationally, 60 percent of low-income households do not have children’s books of their own.
Imagination Library eliminates the financial barrier to book ownership that low-income families often face and helps children develop a love of reading that will serve them for a lifetime. Thanks to the head start they get at home, children who participate in the program can enter school with the preparation they need to unlock their full potential in the classroom, and in life.
This recent milestone would have been impossible without the generosity of United Way’s donors, who allow the organization to cover the cost of the books as well as postage. Thanks to them, more than 10,000 children now receive a new book in the mail – addressed to them – each month.
Yet with 31,000 eligible preschoolers in Summit County, there is plenty of room to grow. A gift of only $30 allows a child to receive one new book a month for an entire year.
Donors can help support the next generation of readers in our community through Imagination Library. Visit uwsummit.org/imaginationlibrary to register a child or to donate online.
For info, visit uwsummit.org.