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Art to Heart

The Importance of Reading

“I believe if you can read, you can do anything,” says country music star Dolly Parton. And the way to get children to love books is to make sure they share books with someone they love, says Dr. Barry Zuckerman, a professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.

Both Parton and Zuckerman founded special programs to get books into the hands of young children and their parents. Parton’s Imagination Library, working with partners in states and communities, provides a book a month to children from birth through age 5. Zuckerman is a founder of Reach Out and Read, a program that works through pediatricians to provide books and information as part of well-child pediatric visits in the early years.

Both programs are offered in thousands of communities nationwide.

Find Out More

  • The Reach Out and Read web site has information about the program, along with tips for parents.
  • The Imagination Library web site has a list of affiliate organizations in each state. Children can be enrolled in the program if they live in a community with an affiliate partner.
  • Check out the Art to Heart Reading Primer for Parents for advice on reading to and with young children, using the library, and encouraging a love of books.

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