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Imagination Library encouraging area families to read

By Staff | Feb 28, 2014

Submitted Ely Elementary School Principal Jason Gullickson reads to his daughters: Reese, 6, and Autumn, 3.

Rugby’s Imagination Library is celebrating its second year of successfully serving registered pre-school children in the Rugby School district.

Imagination Library is a book-gifting program that mails a brand new, age-appropriate book to enrolled children every month from birth until five years of age, creating a home library of up to 60 books and instilling a love of books and reading from an early age. These age-appropriate books are chosen by a committee composed of individuals from education, child development, academia and early childhood literacy.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was launched in 1996 by country singer Dolly Parton to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Since this modest beginning it has grown to include every state in the United States, as well as parts of Canada and the United Kingdom. The total number of books given to children since 1996 is over 45 million.

First Lady Betsy Dalrymple has adopted this program as one of her priorities.

“I am so thankful that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is offered in Rugby,” Dalrymple said. “According to a recent report by KIDS COUNT, two-thirds of North Dakota’s children aren’t proficient readers by the time they reach fourth grade. Imagination Library encourages a love of reading starting at birth that can help reduce this risk.”

Said Superintendent of Rugby Public Schools Mike McNeff: “Early literacy is so important to the readiness of a child for their future success in school. It is important that both mother and father take an active role in reading to their children.”

Gail Rham, a veteran elementary teacher in Rugby, teaches kindergarten and helps organize and implement Gearing Up for Kindergarten each year.

“Reading is beneficial to young children for many reasons,” Rham said. “Studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before school are more likely do well in school. Reading also helps children develop communication and enunciation skills. Stories and books are good ways to?help children deal with stress. Finding a relevant story about a subject your child is concerned about may help ease some tension. Reading to children can help develop an age appropriate attention span, and help with memory retention. Children who are exposed to reading at a young age learn it is fun and are more likely to choose books over other forms of entertainment as they grow older. “

Carol Braaten, a student performance strategist from Ely Elementary said, “Reading is the foundation of every child’s life, and more importantly, determines the path of their future.”

Jason Gullickson, principal at Ely Elementary and his wife, Karen, have their daughter enrolled in the Imagination Library program.

“My children and I look forward to the arrival of our new books,” Gullickson said. “Reading to my children is a special time and it is one of the best things about being a parent.”

March is Rugby’s Imagination Library promotional month. The local Imagination Library strives to reach all families who have children under the age of 5 and encourages them to register.

To register your child you may use the internet at imaginationlibrary.com or simply call Susan Schmaltz at 776-6023, or Peggy Harmel at Rugby High School at 776-5201. The Imagination Library committee also uses the month of March to raise the funds needed to continue this valuable program in our area. The cost of sponsoring one child for an entire year is only $25. The committee is currently mailing letters to businesses in the Rugby community to help with the funding of this valuable program. Individuals who would like to be a part of this exciting program can make a check payable to Imagination Library/Rugby Public School/1123 S. Main/Rugby, N.D. 58368, attn: Peggy Harmel.

Contact Schmaltz for more information on the program. Try to make March the month that your family decides to read more and instill the love of books to your children!

– Rugby Imagination Library

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