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800 children on waiting list for reading books in Johnson County

Local group hoping to expand services
Posted at 12:17 PM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 12:17:39-04

FRANKLIN — The Imagination Library of Johnson County is hoping to reach 800 kids in Greenwood on a waitlist, but the not-for-profit needs to raise thousands of dollars to make that happen.

Sam and Sara Kinder live in Franklin and both of their daughters Charlotte and Madlyn are enrolled in the program.

Storytime before bedtime is routine for both girls who have a long list of favorite books.

“They read to me before bed,” Charlotte said.

She says she likes books because “it helps me learn.”

Every day around 7:30 p.m., the family gathers in the living room to wrap up the day.

“It allows us to have fun. They like to read. They like to read before bed. It's fun, " Sam Kinder, Charlotte and Madlyn's father, said.

The Kinder sisters receive a free book every month as part of the Imagination Library program started by music superstar Dolly Parton.

The program covers kids up to five years old. Over five years, a child could expect to receive 60 books.

Parton's foundation works with local chapters like the one in Franklin to cover the costs of the books and mailing.

Sara makes it a point to tell her pregnant friends about the value of the library. She knows it helps with academic and personal growth.

"Charlie has a big vocabulary and we definitely attribute that to us reading to her," Sara said. "It's fun to get in the mail, get new ones and be surprised. We love it. "

The Board President of the Imagination Library of Johnson County is Susan Crisafulli. She’s well aware of the demand on the programs as an extra 800 kids from Greenwood looking to tap into the program.

“Children who learn to read fluently and succeed academically are more likely to graduate high school, less unlikely to be unemployed, less likely to live in poverty, and less likely to be incarcerated, and more likely to have good healthcare access,” Crisafulli said.

The group is seeking to raise more money to expand its reach.

Imagination Library of Johnson County is hosting a fundraiser this Saturday at Grace United Methodist Church at 9 a.m and 11 a.m.