A reading program intended to prepare children for kindergarten has arrived in Logan County.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library sends one free book per month to each enrolled child younger than 5, said Dave Bezusko, Executive Director of United Way of Logan County. A $150,000 investment in the community will pay for the program for the next five years, he said.
The program sends books to more than 1 million children every month in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
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Bezusko said he became interested in bringing the library to Logan County after a conversation with Bellefontaine Schools Superintendent Brad Hall.
More than half of 5-year-olds in the district who took a kindergarten readiness assessment last fall tested not ready to enter kindergarten, he said.
“We want to increase interest in early childhood reading in the area,” Bezusko said.
The program is free for all children, he said, and the county hopes to sign up 1,200 kids, roughly half the children eligible in the community.
More than 400 children have already enrolled in the program in the first week, he said.
“Studies from other communities around the country show that children enrolled in the Imagination Library are better prepared for kindergarten, have a larger vocabulary, spend more time reading with parents and guardians, have more books, and visit the library more often than children not enrolled,” Bezusko said in a news release.
Parents in Logan County who want to sign their children up for the Imagination Library can go to imaginationlibrary.com. The first books will be delivered in January, he said, but there is no deadline to register.
Sponsors of the program include United Way of Logan County, the Lewis and Dorothy Tamplin Trust, Bellefontaine Rotary Club, Vectren Foundation, Logan County Libraries, Belletech Corp., PNC Bank and other individuals.