Ohio’s First Lady stops in the Valley to promote Imagination Library

Local News

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio’s First Lady was in the Valley Thursday, hoping to get more kids signed up in the governor’s Imagination Library.

The first stop for Fran DeWine was Warren at the Trumbull Community Action Program`s Head Start. She also visited the Little Friends Preschool in Salem.

Mrs. DeWine read books to the kids and explained the program inspired by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The program gives one free book to any child, from birth through age 5, each month.

“So when children sign up, when families sign up, they get a free book every single month in the mail addressed to the child. We don’t think there’s anything more fun or better for the children than getting these free books,” DeWine said.

A child enrolled in the Ohio Imagination Library Program at birth can receive up to 60 books by the time he or she turns 5 years old.

DeWine said she fell in love with the program when she saw how it impacted children.

“A child’s brain is actually 80% developed by the time they’re three years old, so we don’t want to waste that time. Also, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital did a study, after three years of getting the Dolly Parton books, these kids came up 15 points on kindergarten readiness scale,” she said.

That, coupled with seeing the excitement First Lady DeWine’s grandchildren had when they got their books, motivated her to make it available to children in other counties in Ohio.

“So if our kids start kindergarten equal to everybody else, they’re going to have a lot more chance of success, so I think it’s a great reason to read to them,” she said.

And in a world of tablets and phones, it’s nice for children to get an actual, physical book, something First Lady DeWine thinks children need.

“I think it’s great that kids can have their own book addressed to them, and it’s their book to keep, and it just makes for a great reading time,” she said.

That coupled with seeing the excitement First Lady DeWine’s grandchildren had when they got their books motivated her to make it available to children in other counties in Ohio.

If you’d like to sign your child up for Imagination Library visit, www.ohioimaginationlibrary.org. People can also donate on the website.

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