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Greene County Library Director Karl Colon and Youth Services Coordinator Kay Webster, with some of the books being sent to local children through a partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

Library sends free books to kids

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Every child under five in Greene County is now eligible to receive a free book in the mail once a month thanks to a partnership between country music legend Dolly Parton and the Greene County Public Library.

The Little Engine that Could, Goodnight Gorilla, Madeline and other classics are among the books that may be sent to enrolled children from birth to their fifth birthday for a total of up to 60 books they can keep. Parents can sign up at a library branch or online here:

The Greene County Public Library Foundation raised $200,000 from local sources to launch Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library here last month. The rollout has been incredible; already 1,500 children have signed up, according to Karl Colon, the library’s director, which is more than 15 percent of the 9,000 eligible county children under five.

While children that young are not likely reading the books themselves, that age range is a “sweet spot” for the development of pre-literacy skills, which is why it’s so important they have access to books, Colon explained.

“Ideally we don’t want them coming into Kindergarten a blank slate,” Colon said. “It’s easy for kids to acquire pre-literacy skills in that age range and after that range it gets a lot harder and takes more time and effort.”

Pre-literacy skills include learning how to identify letters, numbers and shapes, understanding the alphabet and sounds and basic print concepts like reading left to right and the idea that printed words convey meaning, and being able to pay attention, and react to, stories.

Read the full story in the Dec. 5 issue of the News.

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