Stories

Books of Their Own Spark a Love for Learning

Each day, Nevan and his sister Bekah run to the window when they hear the mail truck and then to the mailbox to see if they have received a new book.
 
“They absolutely love reading and when we get new books in the mail, I know we will be reading them over and over again until we all know them by heart,” says their mother, Jennie. “The books have sparked their interest in many different subjects.”
 
The United Way-sponsored Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library offers children like Nevan and Bekah from birth to age five an early start to a lifetime of learning. Each month a new and carefully selected book is mailed to the homes of children enrolled.
 
Nevan’s favorite book is entitled “Pretend.” Jennie says, “It’s about using your imagination and just like in the book, Nevan will pretend that our couch becomes a boat and he sails it to a magical island. Bekah’s favorite is ‘My Farm Friends.’ She is wild about animals, especially cows. The book is so worn from her reading it that it had to be re-bound with duct tape!”
 
The free program encourages and supports parental involvement in their children’s learning. Since its launch in 2008, Imagination Library has placed more than 22,000 books into the hands of more than 1,000 Summit County children.
 
These books represent the gift that keeps on giving: research shows that expanding a child’s’ access to books encourages their love for learning, improves reading comprehension, and helps foster stronger bonds within the family – a crucial support system that will fuel long-term success in school ,and in life, for children like Nevan and Bekah.
 
United Way is dedicated to investing in quality early education and beyond. The ultimate goal is to leverage a cradle-to-career strategy that helps every child unlock their full potential.