Imagination Library stresses literacy at a young age.


by Jessica Gruenling

ANCHORAGE, Ak-- For children to be successful in life they need to start learning at a young age, which is exactly what imagination library supports. Participants in the program receive a book every month from birth to their fifth birthday. 

"Reading to your child giving your child verbal, reading aloud is getting more words and vocabulary in to them it's the social emotional thing like sitting quietly with your parent while you're reading. Those kids are ready for kindergarten and if they're ready for kindergarten they're gonna end up reading by third grade and if they're reading by third grade they're most likely going to end up graduating from high school,"  Barabara Brown, Project Manager, Best Beginnings.
Best beginnings also helps to target at risk youth.
"We work with anmc and providence, sign up new borns, new borns are signed up at hospitals all over the stat. We work with Alaska housing to reach out to their families and in Anchorage Imagination Iibraries since it's so huge they actually have zip codes that they target and have special outreach in order to reach the low income kids," Brown.  
With the help of best beginnings there are now 32 Imagination Libraries in 110 communities, and almost 22,000 people get a book in the mail every month," Brown. 
"The way it works is that a community has to sign up to start an Imagination Library and it's all volunteer in the state of Alaska, a parent can't enroll just their kids, so when a community signs up it can be a group of volunteers from a literacy council, a group of moms and dads, tribal councils, it can be kick started by a pta whatever it is an organization will take it on in their community and they're all different," Brown. 
The program is completely free for those receving books and now with the help of grant funds, best beginnings can help Imagination Libraries prosper in the last frontier. 
"So the existing imagination libraries may come back for additional help as they  grow and grow and grow, but a lot of them have become self sustaining over time, but brand new Imagination Libraries we help them get started," Brown.
The first book children will read is The LIttle Engine that Could that could, and last book they will receive on their fifth birthday is Look out Kindergarten Here I Come

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