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Program in Wilsonville delivers books to homes once a month in effort to create lifelong readers

COURTESY PHOTO - Makenna Patterson holds a book on her 5th birthday. She was enrolled in Imagination Library from birth.

With many families stuck at home — due to precautions related to the spread of the novel coronavirus — finding educational enrichment is often a priority and a challenge for parents.

This sedentary time might be as good as any to join Wilsonville's Dolly Parton Imagination Library program.

Through the program, children under the age of 5 receive a new book once a month for free.

Two parents the Spokesman chatted with highly recommended Imagination Library.

Wilsonville resident Rachel Ligocki enrolled her 6-year-old in the program when she was 1 and her 1-year-old "the day she was born."

Ligocki said the program helped spark a love for books and reading. For instance, her daughter received one "Llama Llama Red Pajama" book and now has every book in the "Llama Llama" series. The first book each child receives is "The Little Engine That Could."

"You get excited that they want the book to come into the mail rather than a video game or a toy," Ligocki said. "The goal is to create lifelong readers. That's really valuable no matter what you do in your life."

And it even helped Ligocki's daughter begin to develop her Spanish skills (some of the books are in Spanish).

"I'm not a Spanish speaker at all, and so to have a resource helps tremendously," she said. "She recognizes a lot of words (in the Spanish book). Now she's pointing out Spanish words and sounds out words. She reprimanded her (sibling) in Spanish the other day. She said 'I told her to put the glue stick down' in Spanish," Ligocki said.

Yumi O'Neil said her 8-year-old enjoyed the program from age 2 to 5. Quickly after enrolling, O'Neil became impressed.

"I was pleasantly surprised. The variety of books, the quality of books, they were eclectic and had different topics," she said.

O'Neil and her husband, Shawn, read the book to their son the night after receiving it, and she said they bonded over the monthly event.

"It was part of our routine to read before we went to bed. We read out loud. There were great picture books. They all had pictures, which is great for a young kid. And being able to use that time to connect (was valuable)," O'Neil said.

The books even teach important lessons, she said.

For instance the book "My No No No Day" by Rebecca Patterson struck a chord with her son.

"At the end of the day, she (the daughter in the book who was saying no all day) apologized (to her mom). It was cute because at that time my son was going through a phase where he was saying no to a lot of things. That really resonated with him," O'Neil said.

She added: "It's a good way to prompt a discussion even at a young age to talk about life lessons."

O'Neil also thought the program helped her son with language development and matching pictures with words.

To sign up for the program, visit https://wilsonvilleimaginationlibrary.weebly.com.


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