Reading proficiency is among the top priorities for North Carolina lawmakers. In an effort to foster those skills, the General Assembly has provided funding to bring books to young readers across the state.
This will be accomplished by providing the gift of a specially selected book delivered right to a child’s home each month at no cost to local families.
Sampson County is among the 98 counties that are receiving the funds, and the local Partnership for Children is seeking children under the age of five to sign up for the free program.
According to Dr. Victoria Byrd, executive director for the Partnership, the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program for children from birth to age five. The mission of the program is to foster a love of reading in preschool children and ensure that every child born has books, regardless of their family’s income.
“For Sampson County, the newly allocated funding will provide a free monthly book to 1,000 children during the first year and fund an additional 1,000 children during the second year of the project,” Byrd explained. “We are very grateful for this legislative funding and look forward to serving many children.”
During the 2017 legislative session, North Carolina state lawmakers included $3.5 million in the first year of the project budget and $7 million in the second year for the Smart Start network to offer free books through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to children across the state.
“This dedicated funding demonstrates that our legislators understand of the importance of developing an early love of reading for children’s success in both school and in life,” Byrd said.
According to Byrd, the only qualification for this program is that a child be under age 5. To register to become part of the program and start receiving books, go to the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library website and download the short application. If someone is unable to download the application or doesn’t have access to the internet, applications are available at the Sampson County Partnership for Children office at 211 W. Main Street in Clinton.
“Once the application is processed, the child will begin receiving age appropriate books each month through mail delivery to the home or post office box until the child turns 5 years old. The legislative funding of this project means there is no cost whatsoever to the family,” Byrd said.
Currently, Byrd said there are more than 350 children enrolled in the program, with many applications in the processing stage. Parents and guardians are encouraged to sign up their child quickly before the 1,000 spots have been filled.
To find out more about the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and to check availability and register a child, visit the website Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
For more information regarding the programs available through the Sampson County Partnership for Children, contact Byrd at 910-592-9399 or visit the Partnership’s website at scpfc.org.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.