Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee
Promoting Early Childhood Literacy
Operated in partnership with the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, United Way facilitates the delivery of books each month in the three-county area.
Why it's Important
- Studies show that when undereducated parents are given books for their children, they are 4 times more likely to read to their toddlers and preschoolers.
- Research shows that children who are read to regularly at home hear twice as many words every year and have 1/3 larger vocabulary by age three than children who are not read to at home.
- Children who have not developed basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 - 4 times more likely to drop out in later years.
- A child’s brain grows to 80% of its adult size by age three, creating a critical window of opportunity for learning words and language.
- Studies show that children whose parents read to them at age five perform better in school at ages 10 and 16.
The Imagination Library was created in 1996 by Dolly Parton as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee. This program now exists in all 95 counties in the state, giving all of Tennessee’s 408,000 children under age five access to books at no cost to their families.
Once enrolled, your child will receive one age-appropriate book each month, delivered to your home from the time they are born until they reach their 5th birthday. Additionally, you will have access to online Reading Activity Sheets to coincide with the selected Imagination Library book. These are free developmental assessments which provide an easy way to help assure that your child’s early development is on track.