LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Reading with your child is one of the most important things a parent can do. That is among the reasons WAVE 3 News is excited to announce Dolly Parton's Imagination Library has launched in the heart of Louisville.
Parents who live in the areas where the program will start just have to sign up their children. Then, every single month, from birth through the age of five, those children will receive in the mail a free, age-appropriate book to keep.
WAVE 3 News is launching the program with the Junior League of Louisville and Jefferson County Public Education Foundation thanks to generous donations from Delta Dental and the Rotary Club of Louisville.
Singer Dolly Parton started the program in 1995 in her home county of Sevier County, Tennessee. It has since expanded to cities around the world.
Imagination Library already exists in some parts of WAVE Country, including Floyd County.
Daniella Miles of New Albany said signing up her son Douglas was one of the first things she did when he was born. Now three years old, Douglas has his own little library.
"When we go to the mailbox and I open it up and there's bills, bills, bills, maybe a magazine, and then Douglas' book. Before I even notice it, he notices it, and he says, 'Mommy, my book, my book,'" Miles said.
>> RELATED STORY: Dolly Parton's Imagination Library comes to Louisville
The book also has his name on it.
"He gets super excited because that means that he got something special. It's his, it's his property, and I don't get to look at it before he does, and it's his book," Miles said.
The Imagination Library of Floyd County started in 2009. Today, 80 percent of the county's 3,500 eligible children are signed up.
"The parent is the first and most important teacher to the child. And the home is the first classroom," Floyd County Program Director Becky King said.
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Dolly Parton's Imagination Library now sends one million books each month to children. The Junior League wanted to get involved because of its commitment to children and education.
"We believe that by putting books in the hands of children who might otherwise not have access to these books without this program, that it will help give them the opportunity to have families reading together," Nicole Crump of the Junior League said.
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Miles said she is glad she signed up her son.
"To me, I see an engineer brewing," she said. "He's learning. He's diving in. And for me, it's like it's opened a whole new world for him that most kids probably don't get."
To find out whether your child lives in an area where Imagination Library is being launched in Louisville, click here and put in your address in the fields marked "Check Availability."
This is a free program open to all children who live in the areas where Imagination Library of Louisville is starting. Parents don't have to pay a thing.