Tama County families with children under 5 eligible for free books

New early literacy initiative

Better Tomorrows Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) is launching a new, ambitious early literacy initiative to bring the joy and pride of book ownership to children across Tama and Benton counties. Through a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, this initiative will provide one age-appropriate, high-quality book every month to children from birth to age five at no cost for families enrolled in the program. There are 2,600 children across the two counties who are eligible for this program.

Research from a 20 year study shows that the presence of a home library increases children’s academic success, vocabulary development, attention and job attainment. Just as a child develops language skills long before being able to speak, children also develop literacy skills long before being able to read. Children who are read to at least three times a week by a family member are almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who are read to less than three times a week.

To enroll a child

Children can be enrolled in this program online at: https://imaginationlibrary.com/check-availability/

To receive a paper enrollment form or for assistance, contact Erin Monaghan at 319-214-1417 or director@bettertomorrowseci.org.

To make a donation

While this program is free to families, there is an annual cost to Better Tomorrows of $25 per child. With 2,600 age-eligible children locally, donations and grants will be needed. Community members and businesses that would like to help can make donations electronically or by mail.

Donations can be made electronically at:

https://donate.imaginationlibrary.com/?_ga=2.28499135.2013855923.1673364960-939649673.%201668569286 (selecting Tama County from the drop down menu)

Donations may also be made by mailing a check to:

Better Tomorrows ECI

PO Box 516 Vinton, IA 52349

About Better Tomorrows Early Childhood Iowa

Better Tomorrows ECI provides tools and resources to fully engage young children in learning opportunities so they can grow to be healthy, productive and well-rounded students, parents, workers and leaders.

There are 2000 days between birth and the first day of kindergarten. The first 2000 days of a child’s life have a profound and lifelong impact on physical and emotional well-being, readiness to learn and succeed, and ability to become a productive citizen. Research shows that 80% of a child’s brain develops in the first two years, with 90% developing by age 5. As a result, experiences during those years shape the architecture of the brain, including cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional capacities–the foundation for future learning and growth.