State bookmarks this week to honor Imagination Library

September 15, 2015

(As seen on The Tennessean website 9/15/15)

More than 243,500 children across the state receive Imagination Library books each month.

Gov. Bill Haslam has proclaimed this week as “Imagination Library Week” to celebrate the statewide early literacy program that mails age-appropriate books to children from birth to age 5 at no cost to families.

Approximately 24 million Imagination Library books have been distributed since 2004, when the program was made available to children in all 95 Tennessee counties.

“Tennessee’s Imagination Library plays an important role in increasing access to books and promoting early literacy for Tennessee children,” Haslam said. “A child’s early interest in reading helps drive his or her success in school and in life.”

Research has demonstrated that Imagination Library participants begin kindergarten better prepared to read and learn than non-participants, regardless of their economic background. Participants showed stronger speaking and vocabulary skills, improved math and cognitive skills, and more positive social-emotional behaviors.

“Early literacy skills begin to develop in a child’s first five years of life. Children need to hear words, sentence structure, vocabulary and rhymes to be ready to learn to read,” first lady Crissy Haslam said. “Tennessee’s Imagination Library is helping children experience many books before they enter kindergarten.”

The Imagination Library is made available through a partnership with the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation. The foundation was created in 2004 to provide financial and administrative support for each county affiliate. Imagination Library was established in 1996 by Dolly Parton as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn.

How to get books

For information on how to support your local Imagination Library program, or how to enroll a child, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org or call 1-877-99-BOOKS.