“I am here to announce $2.5 million in investment in Oklahoma [ preschool ]children,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. “The state department of education is dedicating federal pandemic relief funds to expand Dolly Parton’s program to all 77 counties in our state.”
The announcement was held Tuesday morning at Educare Oklahoma City.
Dolly Patron’s program is now joining forces with Oklahoma schools.
“Well, hello, Oklahoma! Oklahoma will have a statewide imagination library program,” Dolly Parton shared in an OSDE video.
The country music icon says she’s planting the seeds of dreams through books.
The program’s goal is to make sure every child up to five years old will have access to free books.
“We cannot wait to kindergarten for children to have access and exposure to books and learning,” said Nora Briggs with the Dollywood Foundation. “They must start early in the home.”
The primary benefit is to get books into the home.
The program highlights that there’s nothing more essential than a child’s reading ability.
“Truly, it is transformational. And in many cases, life-changing for sure.,” said Hofmeister. “I have a brand new grandbaby of almost actually four months today. And guess what? We’re signing her up, too. So this is very important for all our kids.”
The children who are served at Educare are those who will already benefit from the Imagination Library.
The Imagination Library relies on community partners, so local affiliates enroll families and raise program costs by $2.10 per book per month. But with the use of the federal relief dollars, OSDE is offering a one-to-one match.
In 2020, Governor Stitt signed a bill into law creating the Imagination Library for Oklahoma.