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Reading In a Bookstore

Why Early Childhood Literacy Matters

Developing literacy begins at birth. The human brain develops rapidly in the first few years of life, when a child’s brain builds 1 Million connections per second! By age three a child’s brain will be 85% of its adult size. By the time a child enters kindergarten, their brain is nearly fully formed.  This “wiring” shapes infants and toddlers’ ability to learn to read and think critically. Because of that fact, as early as age three, a child’s vocabulary can predict third-grade reading achievement. What is the best way to ensure a child is armed with the knowledge they need to succeed? Reading aloud to that child and giving them access to books.

That’s where the Imagination Library Denver comes in. Through our partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, we are working to send every child in Denver from birth to age five a new book each month. Research has shown that a child with 25 books in their home complete an average of two additional years of schooling compared to their peers without books in their home. Our goal is that every kindergartner begins school with 60 books in their home. 


of a person’s intellect, personality, and social skills are developed by age 5.



of public investment in education occurs after age 5, when the most critical learning years have passed. (3)

Children in middle- and high-income homes have an average of

13 books per child.

Children living in poverty have an average of

1 book per 300


Because of this, low-income preschoolers have fewer learning opportunities than children from

high-income backgrounds –

a major reason why they lag behind

in reading achievement throughout their school years. (4) (5)

Harvard How the brain works.jpeg

We can change these statistics. Education is the path out of the trap of generational poverty. The  benefits of the Imagination Library program go beyond children having more books. Early language development is critical to a child’s literacy. And participants receiving books through the Imagination Library have been able to see this development in real time.

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