|Imagination Library offers a head start for kids posted on 03/01/2020|
Since the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) joined Dolly
Parton’s Imagination Library program in 2013, 452 children have enjoyed a free
book every month until they turn five, according to Pat Sanders, who
coordinates it in the district. Globally, the program has given away more than
100 million books, with operations in the United Kingdom, Australia and beyond.
“We’ve done really well,” Sanders said of the local effort.
“We could still do more. (There’s) a whole group of children that hasn’t been
The program is free and families can sign up children who
are under the age of five through the OTSD website, oregontrailschools.com
(under the “Families” tab, located in the upper right). Every month, a free
book gets mailed to the child, ranging from picture books to the traditional
last book for a child’s fifth birthday, “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come,”
by Nancy Carlson.
Sanders, who served as the principal at Kelso Elementary
School in Boring and has had three of his own grandchildren take part in the
program, noted that children who are exposed to books before kindergarten
arrive at school with skills and abilities that will help them get a jump on
their education, including identifying sight words, phonics and even knowing
how to properly hold a book and recognize where the title is.
“When they get to kindergarten, they definitely have an
advantage over kids who don’t have books available,” Sanders said.
He added that numbers in the OTSD have gone up and down
through the years, with 162 children currently involved. One of the more recent
books, Ezra Jack Keats’ “The Snow Day,” proved to be an appropriate one for his
grandson, who was getting ready to go up and enjoy some snow on the Mountain.
The Imagination Library is sponsored by the Oregon Trail
Education Foundation (OTEF) and can also be supported by area residents by
signing up for the Fred Meyer Community Rewards program and AmazonSmile.
All funds contributed through Community Rewards and Amazon
Smile go directly to the Imagination Library program. OTEF is a private,
independent, voluntary organization that supports students, teachers and
families of the Oregon Trail School District.
By Garth Guibord/MT