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Hooked on Books!

Why is it So Important to get Kids Hooked on Books?

"Books, books, I love books;

The way they feel and smell and look.

From my first look I was hooked

on books, books, books!"

Dolly sang this sweet little ditty during her acceptance speech on receiving this year's Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in October.  Her Imagination Library continues to grow, mailing out about 2 million free books each month to children around the world. Fostering a love of reading and getting children hooked on books early is her passion.  Shortly after the Carnegie award, billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, honored her with the Bezos 2022 Award for Courage and Civility, worth $100 million.  Dolly graciously accepted saying, "I always try to put my money where my heart is and I'm going to do my best to do good things with this money."  Through her Imagination Library she will get many more children hooked on books and that is a very good thing!

Starting a regular reading habit early is one of the best ways to get a child on the path to success - in school and in life.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends reading aloud to children for at least 15 minutes a day beginning at birth.  Books provide an incredible amount of learning.  They provide the foundation skills needed to arrive in kindergarten ready to learn and thrive. 

Here are just some of the many advantages that books in the home and shared storytime gives a young child:

Book Handling Skills and Concepts of Print

  • How to hold a book and the fine motor skills to turn the pages
  • The structure of books: cover, title, author, illustrator
  • In English words are read top to bottom and left to right.
  • Grammatical symbols: question marks, commas, exclamation marks

Pre-reading (Emergent) Literacy Skills

  • Letters of the alphabet
  • Letter sounds alone and in combination (phonetic awareness)
  • Predictable patterns that make up words
  • Common words that appear again and again (sight words)

Improved Language Development and a Larger Vocabulary

  • Hearing many more words results in richer language and a larger vocabulary.
  • Talking about the story (elaboration), especially asking open-ended questions using the 5Ws-WHO? WHAT? WHY? WHEN? WHERE?, dramatically increases the number of words heard in a storytime - and sets the stage for on-going conversations between parent and child.
  • Books are lexical reservoirs introducing children to rare, or less familiar words, than they would otherwise hear in everyday conversations - further building their vocabularies.

Stronger Emotional Literacy

  • Strengthens attachment and promotes togetherness
  • Fosters healthier social interactions and self-regulation
  • Develops stronger emotional bonds and more stable relationships

Imagination, Self-Reflection and Critical Thinking

  • Like mirrors, books help reflect the world around us - children are empowered when they see others like them in books.
  • Like windows, books allow children to view and understand lives that are different from their own - offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange

"Books give wings to imagination. Imagination fosters hope and possibilities...When you imagine, you dream. And when you dream, it's possible to imagine yourself right out of darkness." - Floyd Cooper, multi award winning illustrator of children's books.

The Imagination Library and BEGIN WITH BOOKS make it easy to get your child hooked on books!  Click on our website to check out the books our little readers are receiving in the mail each month.

 -- Caron Bell, PhD, Early Childhood Development and volunteer

5,087 children are enrolled in Charleston County, South Carolina.  466,939 books have been delivered to 15,479 children since 2010


6296 Rivers Ave., Suite 100

North Charleston SC 29406


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