By age 3, children with college-educated parents or caregivers have vocabularies 2 to 3 times larger than those whose parents did not complete high school. The easiest way to enrich a child’s vocabulary develop early literacy and critical thinking skills, and prepare children for success in kindergarten is to read to read aloud to a child.
In 2008, United Way began a partnership with The Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library program to distribute free books monthly, by mail, to children from birth through age 5 in select Western Connecticut towns. Nearly 250,000 free books were distributed to children in our area, and we are proud to have increased many children’s reading and pre-literacy skills at this incredibly critical time in their development.
Unfortunately, we have struggled to obtain enough funding to cover the costs of the program, and we regretfully announce that as of June 30, 2016, we will no longer register children for Imagination Library in Western Connecticut.
United Way of Western Connecticut continues to be a strong supporter of early literacy and kindergarten readiness through our funding of preschools, volunteer reading programs, playgroups, and parent workshops.
We urge you to continue reading with your child, as reading aloud to your child is the single most important thing you can do to prepare your child for kindergarten. Every community in our region has a library where children’s books can be borrowed for free (see list below). Please visit your local library, obtain a library card, talk to the children’s librarian about age-appropriate books for your child, and participate in the library’s storytimes and other activities for young children.
General early learning and reading aloud resources
Western Connecticut Libraries