(Southwest, Ohio)— Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine launched the Ohio Governor's Imagination Library Program today in Hamilton County. In Hamilton County, 53,000 children -- from birth to age 5 -- are eligible to receive a free, new book once a month, which is mailed to the child's home.
“Early childhood literacy has so many proven positives in a child’s life, and that’s why I’m thrilled to bring the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library Program to Hamilton County’s youngest children,” said First Lady Fran DeWine. “I hope all 53,000 eligible children -- from birth to age five -- in Hamilton County will enroll to receive a free book every month. Mike and I believe every child should enter kindergarten with a good, strong start.”
In Hamilton County, local funds raised will be matched with state dollars provided in the state's FY 2020-2021 budget. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center will administer the program in Hamilton County.
“There is no such thing as reading too much or starting too young,” said Michael Fisher, president and CEO of Cincinnati Children’s. “The expansion of the Imagination Library program will help us make a positive difference in the health and lives of more children. We are grateful for the commitment and support of the Governor’s office, the Cincinnati Public Schools and all of our local organizations, philanthropic partners and businesses that are making this a reality.”
Research has shown that book ownership can be a predictor of future academic success. In fact, studies have found that children with just 25 books in their home were more likely to complete an additional two years of education. Inspired by Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine’s passion for early childhood literacy, the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to ensure children enter the classroom ready to succeed.
Since mid-December, First Lady Fran DeWine has visited sixteen Ohio counties to announce their addition to the program: Montgomery, Pike, Scioto, Jackson, Tuscarawas, Holmes, Wayne, Lawrence, Gallia, Meigs, Franklin, Highland, Clinton, Butler, Adams and Cuyahoga. 67 counties are on board today, which means more than 140,000 Ohio children under the age of five are currently receiving the free books.
To sign up and learn more, visit www.OhioImaginationLibrary.org.