CLEVELAND — While visiting University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and MacDonald Women’s Hospital on Wednesday, Fran DeWine focused on early childhood literacy and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio has 358,550 children enrolled, nearly 50% of eligible children within Ohio. The library mails kids one age-appropriate book each month until the child is 5 years old. All Ohio children from birth to age 5 are eligible to enroll for free.
“I love traveling Ohio to see how our amazing partners, like leaders at University Hospitals, are helping to enroll young families so that more free books get into the hands of children,” said Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine in a news release. “Several Ohio-based research studies, including one done at Case Western Reserve University, show the positive impact Imagination Library books have in a home, particularly better-preparing kids for kindergarten.”
DeWine joined a roundtable discussion with hospital leaders and community partners about early childhood literacy.
Brain science shows by the time a child turns 3, their brain is already 80% developed. In Ohio, research shows the longer a student is enrolled in the Imagination Library, the higher their Kindergarten Readiness Assessment score is.
“Reading to infants and children is so important. Countless studies have shown a connection between a babies’ language exposure and their neurodevelopmental outcomes. Reading also supports family bonding, and decreases stress related to hospitalization,” says Patti DePompei, RN, MSN, President, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s and UH MacDonald Women’s hospitals and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation Chair in Leadership and Innovation.
When families have a baby at UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital, a bag is sent home with baby-friendly books, literature on healthy parenting tips and the option to activate the baby’s first library card.
“We are proud to actively support Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio and connect our patients and families to these wonderful opportunities to hopefully develop a lifelong love of books,” said DePompei.
To sign up children for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library books, click here.