DARKE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine visited and gave remarks at a Darke County United Way event Wednesday.

Fran DeWine talked about the importance of early childhood literacy at the event that celebrated Darke County United Way’s success as an affiliate of singer Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program, which is a program that sends free age-appropriate books to children up to five years old.

Nearly 1,000 children are enrolled in the Imagination Library Program in Darke County. According to the office of the governor, the program has allowed Darke County’s kindergarten readiness score to be 17% higher than the statewide average.

“We’re trying to make it possible for every child in Ohio to get these books. We just think it’s going to make a huge difference in getting these kids ready for kindergarten,” said Mrs. DeWine.

The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library will provide a dollar for dollar funding match for each county’s book purchases.