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The WHY, WHEN, and HOW of Learning to Write

Unlike learning to talk, children need to be taught  to write.  It's not enough to see you writing for your child to learn all they need to know.  They not only need to be taught how to write, but also need to understand when and why  we write, and all the many forms that writing takes.  How do printed words "work"?  What are the "rules" or concepts of print ?  It will take your child several years to learn all of this, and of course, they will continue the learning well into the elementary school years and beyond.  However, there are many things you can do to help them get a head-start and be ready for kindergarten. WHY Your child needs to understand that writing is a way of saying on paper the things we otherwise think to ourselves or say out loud.  Letters on a page mean the same thing as words they have heard spoken.  As we rely more and more on our smartphones and tablets for simple writing tasks, we are no longer modelling writing as we once did.  More t
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It's a Fact

The Imagination Library is Evidence-Based -- What started out over 25 years ago as Dolly's desire to get books into children's homes in her home county in East Tennessee, has grown into a global book-gifting program that has mailed over 140,000,000 books and has over 1,600,000 children enrolled.  Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL) mails more than 1.6-million brand new, high quality, age-appropriate books around the world every month.  These books are sent directly to children's homes from birth until five years of age.  BEGIN WITH BOOKS (BWB), the Charleston County affiliate for  DPIL, has 4,788 children receiving books, with 422,237 books having been delivered to 14,225 children since 2010.  In keeping with Dolly's vision, BWB aims to foster a love of reading among preschool children and their families.  Dolly's goal is to get children excited about books and to inspire them to "Dream More, Learn More, Care More, and Be More" Child

The Best of the Best

The Imagination Library is Filled with Award-Winning Books  - Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL) prides itself on the quality of the books in its collection.  It is no surprise, therefore, that many award-winning titles, authors and illustrators are currently on their book lists, or have been over the years.  Read on to learn a little bit about the more prominent awards given out for children's literature in this country and the many award-winning books found on DPIL shelves. Newbery and Caldecott Awards The Newbery Medal , established in 1922, is the oldest children's book award in the world.  It is awarded annually by the American Library Association (ALA) to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.  With its intent and long history, it continues to be the best known and most discussed children's book prize in the country.   Likewise, the Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the ALA to the illustrator of most t

November is National Family Literacy Month

November is National Family Literacy Month and what better time to reinforce the importance of reading to children from a young age.  This month is all about families getting together and embracing the love of reading.  In recognition, organizations across the country are encouraged to emphasize the important role that families play in instilling a love of reading in their children and to foster learning and development through books.  Many libraries, schools, child development centers and the like have special programming and activities with the aim of getting families reading together. As the local affiliate for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL), BEGIN WITH BOOKS (BWB) is proud to partner with many of these organizations in Charleston County.  BWB is committed to addressing family literacy through community outreach by providing books and inspiring educators and caregivers in the community to spend more time reading to children in their care.  Since 2017, BWB has deliv

The Imagination Library Garners Another Prestigious Award -

Library of Congress Acknowledges  Outstanding Contribution to Promoting Literacy --  "Literacy develops the mind and the heart, engages the intellect and imagination, and builds wide-ranging knowledge of the world." -- Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden In our previous post , we highlighted the quality of  Dolly Parton's Imagination Library's (DPIL) book selection process. So, it seemed fitting to follow-up with none other than the Library of Congress' seal of approval.  Over the years, DPIL has received a long list of awards and acknowledgements, and last month, it added yet another.  On International Literacy Day, September 8, 2021, DPIL won the top prize in the prestigious Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program.   DPIL was awarded The David M. Rubenstein Prize , worth $150,000 . The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program Since 2013, The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program has been honoring non-profit organizations for outstanding contributio

Selection with Intention:

Thought and Deliberation Go into Each and Every Book Selection --   BEGIN WITH BOOKS (BWB) is pleased to have two new books in its rotation and on bookshelves in the month of September: Baby Builders , by Elissa Haden Guest, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, for children turning three, and Brick by Brick , by Heidi Woodward Sheffield, for children turning four. Hundreds of potential titles are reviewed every year for inclusion in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL).  Let's explore why these two books in particular may have been chosen. The Book Selection Process A tremendous amount of thought and deliberation goes into each and every book selection.  The Blue Ribbon Book Selection Committee , DPIL's panel of early childhood literacy experts, convenes annually to review and select books for the following program year.  This diverse group of experts is made up of  teachers, librarians, authors, and early childhood educators.  The richness of their backgrounds ensures that

Reading Aloud Gives the Gift of Self-Regulation

The Imagination Library and BEGIN WITH BOOKS encourage parents to read aloud 15 minutes every day. These 15 minutes could be one of the greatest gifts you give your child. Reading aloud promotes language development and builds the skills needed to learn to read and arrive in kindergarten ready to learn.  But that’s not all.  By establishing a regular reading habit, you are also building your child’s emotional resilience and giving them the gift of self-regulation. What do we mean by self-regulation? Self-regulation is the ability to manage our emotions and deal with life’s challenges in healthy and predictable ways.  We develop self-regulation skills through the build ing   of the neura l pathways that make up our stress-response system.  Children who grow up in stable households, with loving and attentive caregivers, have an easier time regulating their emotions.  This, in turn, makes it easier for them to make new friends and get along with others in school and other social settin