Children’s Council Brings Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Watauga Families

Published Friday, December 18, 2015 at 5:21 pm

By Katie Benfield

Local families now have access to materials needed to encourage early literacy in the home, regardless of income, for children up to age 5 through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library thanks to a partnership with the Children’s Council of Watauga County.

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The Children’s Council of Watauga County promotes its partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library during the Town of Boone’s annual Christmas parade in December 2015. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

The Children’s Council offers a variety of programs, support systems and resources for any family that wants to provide a rich and learning environment in their homes.

“Our agency has all sorts of programs. All the things we have are geared towards early learning,” said Children’s Council Executive Director Crystal Kelly. “We have a resource library parents can go through and choose what they want to do at home with their kids. We offer a yoga class and once a week child care. There are a lot of different things for everyone — our goal is aimed between birth and ages 12.”

The folks at the Children’s Council understand the significant relationship between childhood development and early literacy, and the Imagination Library is now one of many programs it offers.

The Imagination Library delivers one book a month to the families enrolled in the program, and each book is selected to suit each child’s age.

“Babies are going to receive a different book than a five year old,” Kelly said.

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The Children’s Council of Watauga County promotes its partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library during the Town of Boone’s annual Christmas parade in December 2015. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

According to Kelly, the program is low maintenance and easy to join. Families can come into the agency and fill out a form, or they can complete an application online through the Children’s Council’s website.

“It takes about a month once you’re in the system to start receiving books,” Kelly said. “We have a wonderful private donor, and things are starting to kick off.”

The program’s initiative is to provide children with a good learning environment within their homes in order to get them excited about school and reading at an early age.

There are approximately 2,000 days between when a child is born and when they go to kindergarten, Kelly said, and a child’s readiness for school is directly related to the number of words they read and see in that period of time.

“We want those days before they attend school to be full and rich with words and literacy,” Kelly said.

In addition to the Imagination Library, the Children’s Council will offer several more new programs in early 2016, including home visits for new mothers.

“We want to be the place you turn to for support, help or any questions anyone might have,” Kelly said. “Everyone on staff here is an expert in child development. We want parents to be their children’s first teachers and give them everything they need to raise happy children.”

For more information about the Children’s Council or Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, call 828-262-5424 or visit thechildrenscouncil.org.

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