Press Release, March 24, 2016
News from: Governor’s Office for Children
For immediate release:
“Governor’s Young Readers” Off to Successful Beginning
More Than 2,000 Children Have Enrolled in Less Than a Month
ANNAPOLIS, MD – As of today, more than 2,000 Baltimore City children have been enrolled in the “Governor’s Young Readers” program since its official launch three weeks ago. On March 1, Governor Larry Hogan announced that every child, from infancy to age 5, in Baltimore City could be enrolled, free of charge, in a new reading and book-delivery program. Named “Governor’s Young Readers,” the program is a part of country star Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the Tennessee-based nonprofit organization that mails a specifically selected, age-appropriate book each month to the homes of participating children.
A total of 850 children were enrolled in the first week alone, according to the Family League of Baltimore, the coordinating organization for the “Governor’s Young Readers” initiative. In addition, the Family League partnered with the Baltimore City Department of Social Services to successfully register all Baltimore City children between the ages of infancy and age 5 who are in foster care.
The Family League is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes resources, empowers communities, and builds the capacity of organizations to provide children and families with high-quality programs and services that help them reach their full potential. The Family League has identified local partners to assist in promoting the Young Readers program, help families sign up for the books, and lead the fundraising effort for the local portion of the program.
“We are thrilled the Young Readers initiative is off to such a wonderful start,” said Jonathon Rondeau, president and CEO of Family League of Baltimore. “Family League is proud to partner with the Governor’s Office for Children on this effort to boost literacy and put brand-new books into the hands of thousands of young readers throughout Baltimore.”
Dolly Parton and the Dollywood Foundation started Imagination Library in 1995 for the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Her goal was to encourage a love of reading among local preschool children and their families with the gift of a new book each month. By 2000, the program had become so popular that Parton announced she would make the program available to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it. Since the initial launch in 1995, over 60 million books have been mailed to children in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Over 1,600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to over 890,233 children in the United States alone. Statistics and independent reports have shown Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has dramatically improved early childhood literacy and reading scores for those enrolled.
If you wish to enroll a child living in Baltimore City, you may do so at http://bmoregetabook.org/. Or, for more information on where you can sign up in person, please visit the Baltimore City Public Schools Office of Early Learning; Judy Centers; Head Start Collaborative; Baltimore City Child Care Resource Center; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); Baltimore Infants and Toddlers Program; Enoch Pratt Free Library; Home Visiting Programs, such as Sinai Hospital and Baltimore Healthy Start; or a local family child care provider.
About the Governor’s Office for Children
The Governor’s Office for Children works with State agencies and Local Management Boards to promote a stable, safe, and healthy environment for Maryland’s children, youth, and families.