Books from Birth, A Partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Books from Birth provides one book per month to children from birth through age five at no cost to families, regardless of income. Operated in partnership with the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, United Way enrolls children, promotes the program in its community and raises funds for half of the cost of books and mailing for Rutherford and Cannon counties.

Why it's Important

•    Reading aloud is the widely recognized as the single most important activity leading to literacy acquisition
•    A child’s brain grows to 80% of its full size by age 3.
•    Children with as few as 25 books in the home complete an average of two more years of schooling than those with no books.
•    Reading to a child in an interactive style raises a child’s IQ by 6 points.

Imagination Library participants outperformed non-participants on Kindergarten Literacy assessments and continued this trend even into second and third grades, according to recent Tennessee studies. The Imagination Library was created in 1996 by Dolly Parton as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee. This program now exists in all 95 counties in the state, giving all of Tennessee’s 408,000 children under age five access to books at no cost to their families.

Enroll a Child

Click here to enroll a child in either Rutherford or Cannon County Books from Birth. All children from birth through age five who live in Rutherford or Cannon counties are eligible to enroll in the Books from Birth program. You may enroll online through the Governor’s Foundation or print a registration form and mail it to the following.

United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties
Attn: Rutherford Books from Birth
PO Box330056
Murfreesboro, TN 37133

Within eight to ten weeks, your child should receive a new,  age-appropriate book in the mail every month until they reach their fifth birthday. Please notify us of a change of address by clicking  here or calling 615-893-4131. If you move outside of Tennessee, please contact the Dollywood Foundation at 865-428-9606 to see if your new community has the Imagination Library program.

Growing young readers!

When you support  Books from Birth, you are directly helping a young family set a solid foundation for their children both in school and in life. Getting a book in the mail each month keeps the excitement alive and encourages families to read together. Did you know that in Rutherford County, it costs over $345,000 each year to deliver books to more than 13,800 kids each month? Half of the cost of the books are paid by the Governors Books from Birth Foundation, but we need supporters like YOU to help cover the rest.

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