Child literacy studies have shown for years that reading to your kids is one of the easiest ways to give them a leg up in school as it improves vocabulary, language, and concentration.
The United Way -- in collaboration with First Security Bank -- have brought Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to the community to ensure kids in Missoula and Mineral counties have those crucial skills.
Each month the Imagination Library mails a free, high quality, age appropriate book to kids from birth to age five.
The United Way and First Security Bank work hard behind the scenes to make that special moment possible by paying for the postage and handling the enrollment. Monday proved monumental as they delivered book number 150,000.
Siblings Luna and Tallis Parkey were the recipients of that delivery and their parents say the program encourages family reading time, something that’s become a nightly ritual in the Parkey household.
“When you’re reading to your kids you have to be present with them because you’re engaged in that same story with them, you’re visualizing the same things that they are, you’re answering the questions they’re asking about it," Petrea Parkey said.
When the United Way felt it was time to bring the program to Missoula in 2015, they called on First Security Bank for support. President and CEO Scott Burke says bringing Imagination Library to Missoula just made sense.
For his team, it was an investment in Missoula’s youth, "when they talked about the youth from birth to kindergarten we said ‘Yeah this is a no brainer.’”
Right now over 3,000 kids in Missoula and Mineral counties receive books through Imagination Library. United Way of Missoula CEO Susan Hay Patrick hopes to see that number continue to grow.
“I think the beauty of the program is that there’s no stigma. No matter where you live or how much money you make in Missoula and Mineral counties, your child can be a part of Imagination Library," she said.
Click here to sign your kids up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.