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Closing the Word Gap, One Story at a Time

The Word Gap? What is it and how do we go about closing it?  Perhaps you've heard it referred to as the 30-million word gap .  It's a catchphrase that's been circulating for years.  But what does it really mean? The phrase itself originated from a landmark study done over 25 years ago that compared the language development and reading achievement of children from different socioeconomic backgrounds.  The researchers observed a large group of 7-month-old babies for one hour per day for two and a half years, until the children reached three years old.  Everything the baby heard or said was recorded.  ALL words were counted, duplicates and all.  The results were shocking.  Youngsters growing up in more well-off homes heard 30-million more words over two and a half years than those living in poorer households.  They also heard these words in a more conversational style compared to children in less well-to-do homes.  There was also a strong link between household income and s
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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

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