The Partnership launches two new literacy initiatives in Durham
Posted on 03.08.2018, Thursday
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We are so excited to announce the launch of two new initiatives to strengthen early literacy and support young children and families in Durham. The initiatives, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read, are both made possible through funding from the North Carolina Partnership for Children and will help us achieve its mission of ensuring all children enter school ready to succeed.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) and Smart Start are working together to get new, age-appropriate books into the hands of North Carolina’s youngest children through funding provided by the North Carolina General Assembly. During the 2017 legislative session, North Carolina state lawmakers included $3.5 in the first year of the budget and $7 million in the second year for the Smart Start network to offer free books through DPIL to children across the state. DPIL is a program created to foster a love of reading among children age birth to five through the gift of a specially selected book delivered right to their home each month.

“I’m thrilled that my Imagination Library is going to be offered to so many children in North Carolina” stated Dolly Parton, the founder of DPIL. “Working together we can help children dream more, learn more, care more, and be more.”

Registration for DPIL is now open for all children birth to age 5 who reside in Durham County. Each month, a new book will be mailed directly to each child, at no cost or obligation to the family. Families can learn more, check eligibility, and register a child by clicking here.

Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a national program that supports doctors in their efforts to foster healthy bonding and brain development. During well-child visits, pediatricians use books as part of the exam as they “prescribe” reading daily with young children and families. The Partnership is one of eighteen Smart Start local partnerships that received funding to provide or expand ROR in their communities.

The Partnership obtained new Smart Start funding to help strengthen ROR at Duke Children’s Primary Care Southpoint and Lincoln Community Health Center, working with these medical practices to promote early brain development, literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms and waiting rooms. This includes giving free books to children, as well as guidance for parents about the importance of reading aloud and building a strong foundation for learning. ROR also occurs at the Duke Children’s Primary Care Roxboro Road clinic.

Early literacy plays a key role in all Partnership programs and is a crucial part of a child’s development, as it enhances vocabulary, builds important communication skills, and gives them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life.

“Reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning on their own,” says Partnership Executive Director Laura Benson. “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read both encourage a lifelong love of books and are two exciting new tools in our broader efforts to achieve school readiness for all children in Durham.”

To learn more about these initiatives and other Partnership programs, please click here.