A parent reads during last year's launch of the Imagination Library in Houston. (File photo)

A children’s reading program organized by a local group will have its kickoff next Thursday, June 24,  at Emmett Kelly Park.

Community Betterment and Arts Council will host it from 6 to 7 p.m. at the lower pavilion. The organization participates in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, which allows any child born in the Houston School District in 2009 or after to receive a free book every month in the mail. About 30 households currently participate. The program, in its first year in 2009, was launched with the inspiration of the late Charlie McKinney, who realized that the program would help children in the local school district advance their reading skills.

Those attending the Houston event will have a community leader read to them and receive a free book.

According to studies conducted on the program, students who participate score higher on reading, speaking, thinking and social skills. Some parents also improve their reading abilities. According to the data, students who were exposed to reading earlier in life perform better in school.


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