United Way Early Childhood Literacy Initiative (Dolly Parton Imagination Library)
United Way of North Central Massachusetts Strategy
In North Central Massachusetts, we LIVE UNITED against illiteracy…. through
United Way Early Childhood Literacy Initiative, with its goal to ensure that:
- Children enter school ready to succeed, and
- Students are successful in elementary/primary school and prepared for middle school/secondary school
Research shows that children who enter school ready to learn are more likely to achieve early reading proficiency by third grade, and graduate high school on time.
Students who graduate high school are more likely to find a job that pays a livable wage, live healthier lives, stay out of the justice system and have children who also graduate high school on time.
Our strategy for CHILDHOOD SUCCESS includes:
United Way of North Central Massachusetts, thanks to its donors, delivers a brand new, age-appropriate book to enrolled children every month from birth until five years of age, creating a home library of up to 60 books and instilling a love of books and reading from an early age.
Currently over 2,000 children across 7 communities in North Central Massachusetts are enrolled.
Evaluation results indicate that more frequent child-directed reading and discussion of the story, and participation in the program is associated with higher measures of early language and math development. This association remains after controlling for demographic and socioeconomic factors.