CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — An iconic celebrity has brought her popular children’s book program to the Cranston area.
Sen. Jack Reed teamed up with the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) to set up and run Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Rhode Island.
The program gifts children ages 0-5 with one free book each month by mail. Their last book, according to the program, comes with a personalized video message from the singer herself.
“Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to dream more, learn more, hear more and be more,” CCAP Executive Director Joanne McGunagle said. “The program has been researched and results demonstrate a positive impact on early childhood development and literacy.”
Parton first launched her program in Tennessee nearly three decades ago. She was inspired to do so by her father, who struggled to read and had to work hard to support his family without continuing school.
The program has had both national and international success, with more than 200 million books and counting being distributed.
“This program helps families build their own children’s libraries and a strong foundation for literacy and learning,” Reed said. “It’s great to get these books directly into the hands of parents and children to own, enjoy and treasure … I encourage more Rhode Islanders to participate in the program and take the time to read with their kids.”
The first book sent to each child who joins the program is a personalized version of Parton’s favorite, “The Little Engine That Could.” The last book, which is sent once the child “graduates” from the program, is a custom version of “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!”
So far, 119 children living in and around Cranston are participating in the program. Parents interested in signing their child up for the program can do so by clicking here.