DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Access to reading and books for young children has just gotten a major boost in the Miami Valley.
At Dayton Children’s Hospital, Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine, hospital President Deborah Feldman, and Montgomery County Commision President Debbie Lieberman came together to announce the opening of the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library (OGIL) in Montgomery County.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free books to children from birth to age five in participating communities within the United States and around the world.
Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Parton started her Imagination Library in 1995 for the children within her home county. Today, the program spans four countries and mails over 1 million free books each month to children.
“I’m so thankful to our Montgomery County partners at Dayton Children’s Hospital and the Montgomery County Commissioners who are bringing the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library to this community,” said Fran DeWine. “The first three years of a child’s life are the most important in brain development. Reading can help in that development, which is why [Gov. Dewine] and I are passionate about giving every young Ohio child access to free books with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library Program.”
After speeches from officials, Mrs. Dewine gathered with young children and read several books to them while continuing to reiterate how essential verbal communication and comprehension are to a child’s developing brain.
Research has shown that children with just 25 books in their home are more likely to complete two additional years of school when compared to their peers without books in the home.
View photos from the event in the gallery below:
The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is currently working to ensure children in all 88 of Ohio’s counties can enroll in Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library in 2020 by providing a dollar for dollar funding match with each county that opens OGIL to its residents. The Ohio General Assembly committed $5 million to OGIL in the state fiscal year 2020-2021 budget.
“Investing in early childhood development makes good sense, because it improves our economic competitiveness by setting people up to be successful in college and their careers,” said Debbie Lieberman.
“Montgomery County has a long history of tackling complex problems with common sense and collaborative solutions, and the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is another project we are approaching with that same drive and dedication.”
To learn more, visit ohioimaginationlibrary.org.
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