HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is coming to Hancock County. The free books for toddlers program was started by the famous entertainer. WLOX News found out why the Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis and the United Way says getting your children aboard is vital to their futures.
Kayla Imes has story time with her children at least three times a day at home or at the Hancock County Library.
"If you teach them at home and teach them the words, once they go to school they won't have such a hard time with the words," said Imes.
Making sure toddlers have plenty of books to read is what the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is all about.
"From birth to age five, any child born after January 1, 2013 will receive a book for the next five years of their lives. It will come once a month in the mail to them. There is no effort on the part of the parents. The only effort that the parent will have to make is making sure their child is signed up," explained Courtney Thomas, Interim Hancock County Library Director.
The Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis has teamed up with the United Way to fund the program for the little ones. Leaders say it's an investment in their futures.
"Children are really born learning, so it's important for us and for all community members to know that to help improve education in our community we have to start at birth," said Colleen Mcadams with United Way of South Mississippi.
Past President of the Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis echoed her words.
"The more words they are exposed to at an early age gives them a good foundation for better learning. It increases their vocabulary and it encourages them to learn to read."
That's something Kayla Imes says has worked for her daughter.
"With her, it's made a big difference. She's super smart. Words to her are no stranger; you can point a word out and she knows it, or she will try to sound it out. "
Hancock County residents can register their children for the program at any public library in Hancock County or online on the United Way's website.
More information here: http://usa.imaginationlibrary.com/register_my_child.php
The United Way is also funding the free book program in Harrison and Pearl River Counties.