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Mohawk Valley toddlers receive unique learning opportunity with Dolly Parton Imagination Library

By ALLISON NORLIAN

 UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Kids around the greater Utica region have an opportunity of a lifetime; it is called the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and it's expanding throughout the community. 

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is a program that helps prepare kids from birth until age five for school by supplying the child a book a month, free of charge.
 
It is a proven, low-cost strategy to focus on the importance of literacy with children.
 
The foundation recently partnered with The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, who granted the Imagination Library with a $50,000 challenge grant to help expand its enrollment opportunities. 
 
Cassie Latella of Utica is a participant in the Imagination Library and has received three books for her son Phillip. Latella said she is thankful she discovered the program.
 
"Reading to kids every night as young as a couple months old prepares them," Latella said. "It gets their minds thinking, they start to hear the language."
 
The challenge grant will allow children in these specific areas and zip-codes to enroll: Whitesboro (13492), Yorkville (13495), NY Mills (13417), Sauquoit (13456), Clayville (13322), Chadwicks (13319), Cassville (13318), Marcy (13403), Utica (13502), Deerfield , Schuyler, Marcy, Holland Patent (13354), Barneveld (13304), Remsen (13438), Prospect (13435), Newport (13416), Middleville (13406), Poland (13431), Cold Brook (13324), Herkimer (13350), Dolgeville (13329), Salisbury Center and Stratford (13454.)
 
Latella says it's a great way to get your toddlers reading, while creating precious family moments, "It's nice to share that passion and that love of reading with them," Latella said.
 
Parents can enroll their children to receive a free book each month by contacting their local library or by going to www.imaginationlibraryhoc.org. Also, St. Luke's Birthing Center, Head Start, BOCES Access Center, Oneida County Early Intervention program and local food banks are enrolling their clients. 
 
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