Lowndes County 5 and under receive free books
Published 4:45 pm Thursday, July 28, 2022
The Lowndes County Children’s Policy and The River Region United Way have worked together to bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to Lowndes County, helping spread the love of reading through free children’s books.
Parents or guardians of children ages 0-5 years of age that are residents of Lowndes County are eligible to register their child(ren) in the program, where they will receive a free new book each month.
Jannah Bailey, president and CEO of The River Region United Way, said she is excited about the program and will attend the kick-off on Saturday, July 30, at the Back To School Bash being held at Russell Ball Field in Hayneville from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.
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According to Bailey, The River Region United Way and The Lowndes County Children’s Policy began working on bringing the Imagination Library to the River Region back in January.
“It is a process,” Bailey said about bringing the program to Lowndes County. “We serve five counties in the River Region. We started by contacting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Headquarters in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We wanted to ensure we were a good area for the program and would be a good steward. We have been meeting with the Children’s Policy Councils in each county and Lowndes County will be the first to roll out the new program.”
The other counties that will follow in the roll out are Montgomery, Autauga, Elmore and Macon.
Bailey said a “big shout out” should go to the Alabama Department of Early Childcare Education for a grant awarded to United Way making this project possible. The grant provided funding for the program for two years, but work is already underway to provide future funding for the program and expansion to other counties.
“Early education is on everyone’s mind to get children where they need to be on grade point reading level,” Bailey said. “Anything we can do to get a book in a child’s hand.”
The 2022-23 school year will implement a reading initiative for third-grade students throughout Alabama. Third graders who do not meet reading levels on state exams will be held back and repeat the third grade. The initiative was set to begin in 2021 but was pushed back due to COVID.
Bailey said registration is easy, and children will receive age-appropriate books. Registration can be completed online at www.imaginationlibrary.com, in person at the Back To School Bash or at The River Region United Way, 3121 Zelda Court, Montgomery, Alabama.