TODAY FOR TOMORROW
Imagination Library Partnership By Matt Wright
When we imagine people without books, we think of places in war torn countries such as Afghanistan or Iraq. In reality, we live in a part of the country, the Delta, where there are homes that don’t have books for children to read. They could be down the street…they could be your neighbor. Recently, I came across some interesting information that disturbed me. Did you know that in homes where poverty conditions exist, there is one book for every 300 children?One book, three hundred children. After reflecting on that statistic, it shouldn’t have surprised me. People who live in poverty have to pick between paying the light bill, purchasing food for the next meal, or buying a book. It is easy to see which one of the three choices will be left out. When 42% of kids in the U.S. grow up in homes that lack the income to address needs such as rent, daycare, food, and transportation, these families aren’t going to purchase books.Let me be clear. Books aren’t luxuries. Books are a necessity. It might be not be as immediate a need as food, but if you look at the long term picture…it is as important. This week, I learned of a program that is called Imagination Library. Through a partnership and funding provided by Dolly Parton, this program was created to help foster a love of reading in preschool aged kids. Along with that goal, they also aim to put books in the hands of every kid in the world. For $25 dollars a kid, we can provide a quality book mailed to the homes of kids in our town. Initially, our goal is to provide these books for ages 3-5. However, our long term goal is to provide books to kids ages 0-5. We have 60 kids in kindergarten at Marked Tree this year.. If that pattern holds true for ages 3 and 4, we are talking about 120 kids. That would cost our community $3,000. For $3,000, we can put books in the hands of every three and four year old kid. We are talking about every kid in Marked Tree. EVERY. KID.Critics will say this isn’t going to ensure kids read, but I can promise you they won’t if they don’t have books. Why can’t they just go to the library? It’s not always as easy as it seems. Most of us have jobs….when was the last time you went to the public library? This won’t guarantee that kids will learn to read, but I can promise you….providing access to books is the first step.This also isn’t just about reading, this is about the future of our community. A higher tax base, higher rates of civic engagement, high volunteer rates….these are just a few of the benefits that come with having a literate population. Over the next few months, you will be hearing more and more about this program. If you are interested in helping get this program get off the ground, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can help us make a difference.
Superintendent: (870) 358-2913 High School: (870) 358-2891
Fax: (870) 358-3953
406 St. Francis St.
Marked Tree, Arkansas 72365
Elementary: (870) 358-2214
703 Normandy St.Marked Tree, Arkansas 72365