All Hannibal children ages 0-5 are eligible to receive free books with the help of the Riedel Foundation, working in connection with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program.
The Riedel Trustees awarded $8,100 in grant money to fund the initiative administered locally by the United Way of the Mark Twain Area. Through this program, children who are enrolled receive one free book a month mailed directly to their door from the time they are born until they turn five.
Access to books is the largest predictor of childhood literacy. Riedel Trustee Dr. Michael Bukstein said, “Funding this program is one small way that the Riedel Foundation provides families and children with the tools to start building the literacy skills they need to help them throughout their lives.
The Riedel Foundation has supplied nearly 8,000 free books to Hannibal children since the Dolly Parton Imagination Library started in Hannibal in 2019.
“Reading is the foundational skill that gives individuals access to learning about any topic,” said United Way Executive Director Denise Damron. “With the ability to read comes the ability to learn. We want to enhance that opportunity for young people in our community.”
Hannibal children can sign up for the program at imaginationlibrary.com. For children outside of Hannibal, you can visit the site to see if your community is eligible.