Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) and local affiliate Rutherford Books from Birth recently celebrated the launch of a birthing hospital partnership at TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center to begin enrolling newborn babies into Tennessee’s Imagination Library program.
Through this partnership, each family of a newborn child at TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center will be given the opportunity to enroll in Tennessee’s Imagination Library and begin receiving one book per month mailed to the child’s home until age five, at no cost to the family. Each child enrolled in the program prior to hospital discharge, will receive a gift of the first Imagination Library book, The Little Engine That Could, as a tangible example of the program’s wonderful books that will arrive each month until the child reaches age five.
To emphasize the benefits of reading with children beginning at birth, GBBF launched the birthing hospital initiative in 2014, partnering with hospitals across the state to introduce Tennessee’s Imagination Library program to families of newborns. Seventeen birthing hospitals are now participating in the birthing hospital initiative, potentially reaching more than 29,000 newborns per year with this program.
“A child enrolled at birth in Tennessee’s Imagination Library will receive 60 high-quality, age-appropriate books by age five and will gain the opportunity to develop vital early literacy skills essential to long-term educational success,” said GBBF President, Theresa Carl. “Our goal in partnering with hospitals is to engage families as early as possible in experiencing the joy of reading together while helping children develop a love of learning that will last a lifetime.”
Tennessee’s Imagination Library program is made available to all birth to age five children in Tennessee through a unique, three-way partnership between GBBF, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and a local affiliate program in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Through an annual state grant from the Tennessee General Assembly and financial support from foundations and corporate sponsors, GBBF funds half of the cost of books and mailing for all 95 Imagination Library affiliates in Tennessee.
Rutherford Books from Birth is the local Imagination Library affiliate program, sponsored by United Way of Rutherford & Cannon Counties. Created in 2006, Rutherford Books from Birth has delivered more than 1.3 million books to children in the community. Currently, 68.6% of all children under age five living in Rutherford County are enrolled in the program and receive books each month. With over 13,000 books now being mailed to enrolled children in the community, the monthly shared cost allocated to Rutherford Books from Birth exceeds $13,000, matched by GBBF.
Tennessee research shows that children who are enrolled in the Imagination Library program for longer periods of time are more likely to score higher on academic assessments through early grades. Further, this research indicates students are more likely to have increased school attendance and less likely to be suspended.
Here’s how you can get involved with Rutherford Books from Birth locally:
- To volunteer or get involved, contact Jessica Cooper, Rutherford Books from Birth Coordinator, at (615) 893-7303 ext. 110 or [email protected].
- To donate online, go to https://www.governorsfoundation.org/give. Be sure to specify Rutherford County to designate your donation to the local program.
- Enroll your child at https://www.governorsfoundation.org/enroll.
- For tips on reading with your child, visit https://www.governorsfoundation.org/engage/engage-with-your-child.
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