CANTON, Miss. – Studies show that reading out loud to children is strongly related to academic achievement later in life. And, experts say, children who learn to read early come from families who have books in the home.
“There’s a huge difference when children who have had access to books come to school. They understand how books talk, how books work, how the plot moves through a book. They are engaged, they are excited,” said Martha D’Amico, principal, Madison Crossing Elementary.
Now, through a $400,000 grant, Nissan is working with United Way of the Capital Area to provide free books every month to 35,000 eligible Mississippi preschoolers from birth to age 5 through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program.
“We see this as just another opportunity to provide funding and to provide resources for our children. Because we know that our children are our future, and that can even mean for them receiving jobs at Nissan,” said Jeffrey Webster, director of Human Resources.
Children throughout the three counties of Hinds, Madison and Rankin here in Mississippi are eligible to participate in the program, for free.
“All they have to do is dial our 211 call center or go to our website at www.myunitedway.com and sign up. Now we can give the gift of reading to every child in our area from zero to five,” said Carol Burger, President and CEO, United Way of Capital Area.
Parton launched the Imagination Library program in 1996, focusing on her home county in Tennessee. Today the program reaches more than 700,000 children in 1,600 communities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.