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Early literacy

Early literacy & kindergarten readiness

We are always working to have every child in Topeka and Shawnee County ready for kindergarten and create more lifelong readers. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, Call-a-Story, Call-a-Joke, storytimes, Sherry Hess’ parenting blog and Building Readers programs help parents and caregivers with early literacy and early childhood development tools and activities.


Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

boy with bookDolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a free book gifting program that mails high-quality, age-appropriate books to children from birth until their 5th birthday, to their homes monthly. At the end of 2022, the Imagination Library had a total enrollment of 5,778 childrenunder 5 years old living in Shawnee County. The program costs about $30 per child per year. The Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library raise funds to support the TSCPL-United Way of Kaw Valley program.


Building Readers

baby with bookKids librarians lead our Building Readers program series. The series offers programs by age with Baby Bookworms, Wonderful 1s and Terrific 2s. These programs are tailored to developmental milestones associated with each age group. They feature literacy skill building, play-based learning, bonding time between the child and their adult(s), and a sense of support among the adults.


1000 Books Before Kindergarten

1000 BooksIn September 2020 we started the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program that encourages parents to read to their kids frequently. Research shows that reading to your child is the most reliable predictor of school success. Using the library app, parents track the books they read to their child. Kids receive a special reward for each 100 books read. During 2022, 402 kids enrolled and recorded 70,105 books.

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