Posted on August 16, 2023

The Power of Early Childhood Reading

Imagine for a moment that young children, regardless of their situation, could receive a free book once a month? This dream is a reality today through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a 60-volume set of books, beginning with the children’s classic "The Little Engine That Could." Each month, a new carefully selected book will be mailed in your child’s name directly to your home. There is no cost or obligation to your family. Children under the age of 5 who are residents of Cedar Rapids are eligible for this program.

To learn more about the program in Cedar Rapids, please go to

You can either participate in the program or donate much needed funds to help support reading right here in Cedar Rapids!

As pediatricians, we deeply recommend reading to your children when they are very young and encouraging reading as they grow older.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,  the "5 Rs" of early education proactively build the critical social-emotional-language skills that support healthy brain development. Engaging in the following activities will nurture these critical skills and may alleviate or minimize the toxic stress that often derails healthy brain development: 

  1. Read together every day with your child 
  2. Rhyme, play and cuddle with your child every day 
  3. Develop Routines, particularly around meals, sleep, and family fun 
  4. Reward your child with praise for successes to build self-esteem and promote positive behavior 
  5. Develop a strong and nurturing Relationship with your child as the foundation for their healthy development

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