Changing the Story for Yamhill County Children

July 1st, 2017

When a child has access to books, their world becomes larger and their imagination soars. Research has shown that the number of books in a child’s home correlates directly to improve reading scores. Any Yamhill County child, from birth to age five, is eligible to receive a free, age-appropriate book, every month, through Yamhill County Imagination Library (YCIL). Financial support for DPIL in Yamhill County is provided by the Yamhill Enrichment Society (YES).

How the Program Works
Imagination Library is a national program funded by the Dolly Parton Foundation which provides books to children ages 0-5, free of charge. Books in both English and Spanish are mailed to registered children each month. The Imagination Library manages the selection and distribution of books. YES, as the local affiliate, raises money to cover the cost of $25 per child per year through individual donations and corporate sponsorships.

Yamhill County families enroll children online or through enrollment forms, available in both English and Spanish, which are distributed by YES to multiple community organizations supporting families with children under five. Currently, over 2,600 Yamhill County children receive books via Yamhill County Imagination Library. YES’ goal for 2017 is to have 3,000 children enrolled by the end of the year.

Why It Matters
Creating the next generation of readers is critical. Results from the 2015-2016 Oregon Kindergarten Assessment Report show that, on average, Yamhill County students fall below the state average in early literacy and mathematics assessments. Approximately 64 percent of County elementary students are economically disadvantaged and may not have access to quality reading material. This program helps eliminate barriers to book access and ownership.

Kourtney Ferrua, principal at Lafayette’s Wascher Elementary School, comments, “Current educational research supports this type of intervention wholeheartedly. A critical amount of brain development occurs in our students from birth to age three before they ever enter our doors. Often, when we meet our students at age 5, many of whom experience poverty, they come in with a significant gap in oral language, vocabulary, and social interaction. We know from research that positive interactions with loving adults, exposure to books read aloud, and play help students build their soft skills in self-regulation and empathy.”

How You Can Help
For just $25, one child can enjoy a whole year of books. YES’ goal for 2017 is to enroll 3,000 County children. To make this happen, we need to raise $75,000. Attending Bounty of Yamhill County events is one way to help.