Reading program worth investment for kids

We don’t always agree with Curry County Manager Lance Pyle. … But when we do, it’s for a good cause.

Pyle is leading efforts to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Curry County.

The country singer’s project places books in the hands and homes of preschoolers at no charge to their parents or guardians.

The program won’t cost taxpayers much either, except for $3,000 in seed money if county commissioners approve the final step at their meeting on Tuesday. And Pyle said it’s his goal to continually fund the project entirely with private dollars.

Private donors have already committed to giving $6,000 if commissioners approve the program, Pyle said.

The Imagination Library’s Pam Hunsaker said the initiative has more than 750,000 preschool age children enrolled around the world. That includes more than 3,300 in New Mexico.

Parton started Imagination Library in 1996 to benefit children in her home county in Tennessee. Since then, according to the Imagination Library’s website, it’s distributed more than 40 million books to kids in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

“Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create,” imaginationlibrary.com reports.

Hunsaker told reporter Alisa Boswell recently that research shows reading to children regularly can cause a significant increase in IQ, which will last a lifetime.

“Parents are the best teachers their children will ever have and we encourage them to read to their children each and every day,” Hunsaker said.

Pyle said he and his wife read to their 14-month-old daughter nightly and that experience has helped inspire their passion to support Imagination Library.

We wholeheartedly applaud his efforts and encourage others to join in. We hope Roosevelt County might also see the benefit, as well communities across eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle.

The books cost $2.11 each, including shipping, Pyle said, which means $10,000 could supply almost 400 Curry County preschoolers with a new book every month for a year.

If commissioners approve, the program will kick off at the county fair Aug. 12-15 with an information and signup booth. Anyone with a child younger than 6 can participate.

“Based on the information provided and the research we did, we felt it would be a great program,” Pyle said. “These are good quality books and it isn’t very costly and I think it would be a great benefit to our community.”

We look forward to the day when private donations fund the entire operation, but it’s good to see a government leader focusing on our children, our future.

Pyle can count on our newspaper’s support in spirit and with a financial contribution.

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Portales News-Tribune’s editorial board, which consists of Publisher Robert Arrowsmith and Editor David Stevens. All other views expressed on this page are those of their authors.