Survey comments

We got a lot of great comments on this year’s survey. Each one makes my day, lots about the quality of the IL collection and about children excited about getting a book in the mail. “My mail, MY book.” Great little stories about packing up books for car trips, specific titles especially loved — by parents as well as children.

But perhaps my favorite just arrived, short and sweet: “Thank you. My daughter loves the books.”

This parent checked the “$0-$25,000” box for Annual Income. I’m so glad that has no bearing on the quality of the book collection their child now owns. Thanks, Dolly and IL!

FIRST: that’s actually vitally important to later literacy and academic prowess. If a child has that Love of Books long before Kindergarten, they are miles ahead of a child who is unfamiliar with books in general, or, worse, has a bad feeling about them.

I learned this long ago, tutoring at a local school while finishing my teaching credential. If I opened a book and the child cringed, or sagged, sighed, looked put upon, I knew we were behind the 8-ball from the start. If opening a book produced that slight, interested lean-in with a look of interest on the child’s face, I knew, regardless of where (above, below, confused) they were in their “reading level” or skills, they were going to make it as readers, given enough time with appropriate reading material (preferably beautiful books). This was not scientific, of course. It did lead me to always have Just Listening time as part of every tutor session with those children who leaned away from books. No questions, no assignments, no anything required but sit back and listen — and of course I chose the titles to appeal to them. It never failed to, eventually, finally, produce a “Are you going to read?” query, in a tone of hopeful anticipation, from even the boy who most vehemently proclaimed he hated books when we started (many thanks to Roald Dahl!). Eventually even he had conversations about books, wanted to read another one.

The desire to read later is much, much, MUCH easier to nurture if the first response to “Book Time” is “oh good!”, not “oh, no:(“

Having beautiful books, from birth, at home, is the simplest and most fun way to ensure that positive association with them.

I am so glad this parent got to register their child for Imagination Library. I’m so grateful to Dolly Parton for starting this program. It’s good for any child. It’s an investment in their future, and the future of our communities.

ThoughtsSeena Hawley