Books to help children learn to appreciate reading at a young age is one of the purposes of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. A donation from United Way of Northwest Louisiana was made to the parish Head Start program.
In lieu of participating in Read Across America Day, United Way of Northwest Louisiana (UWNWLA) donated 10 sets of books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) to Red River and other local head start programs and child-care centers in each of the 10 parishes they serve. In addition to Red River Head Start, the receiving centers are Benton Head Start Center, Brown E. Moore Head Start, Breda Town Center, Universal Pre-Kindergarten, Humpty Dumpty Head Start, Bienville Head Start Center, STC Mansfield Head Start, Life’s Little Blessings, and Webster Parish ABC Head Start Center. In addition to UWNWLA’s donation for Read Across America Day, the organization is planning to extend their promotion of reading all month long through DPIL.
For the past two years, on March 2, UWNWLA has organized groups of volunteer readers to participate in Read Across America Day, celebrating Dr. Suess’s birthday and advocating the importance of reading to young children. Each volunteer is sent to a Caddo or Bossier Parish elementary school to read a Dr. Suess book and provide fun activities for the students that encourage reading. Due to COVID-19 and new school regulations, UWNWLA could not hold the traditional event this year. However, the organization is still working to provide the tools needed to improve early childhood education.
Through United Way’s DPIL program, one book is delivered directly to children’s homes each month. If a child is enrolled in the program at birth, they will own a library of 60 books by the time they enter kindergarten, all at zero cost to the child’s family.
“Red River Parish School Board Head Start is so excited to be the recipient of this great donation,” said Christy Suggs, Read River Head Start Director. “Storybooks are essential for building a strong educational foundation. The more a child is exposed to books and read aloud to, the stronger their love for reading becomes. Books take you on trips to places our children may never get to see. They help develop concepts and relate our lessons in class to the outside world. We greatly appreciate this donation.”