Why We Work

Supporting Children's Literacy in SC

Why It Matters

  • An estimated one-third of South Carolina child do not have literacy skills needed to be successful in kindergarten.
  • 66.7% of third graders testing below state standards in reading.
  • 51.7% of eighth graders testing below state standards in reading.
  • 13% of children ages 6 to 17 who repeated one or more grades since starting kindergarten.
  • 26% of high school students are not graduating on time.
  • 60,700 children under age 6 read with family members less than 3 days per week.

Impact of Books and Reading to Kids

  • The single most important activity to prepare a child for a life of learning was to read frequently with the child, preferably every single day.
  • Children growing up in homes with many books end up with three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class.
  • Children with as few as 25 books in the family household completed on average two more years of schooling than children raised in homes without any books.
  • According to research, many households have no age-appropriate books available for children, a problem that is especially prevalent in low-income households where over 60% of low-income families do not have a single book suitable for a child. A home without age-appropriate books negatively impacts a child’s ability to arrive at school prepared to learn.

Impact of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

  • New research has demonstrated that children who participate in the program are significantly more likely to finish high school, go to college, and maintain steady employment than others.
  • Up to 75% of DPIL parents read more to their children after receiving the Imagination Library.
  • The longer a child is enrolled in the Imagination Library the more likely there will be an increase in the frequency of reading with the child.
  • Five-year-old “graduates” of the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are 30% more likely to be kindergarten ready.
  • Of those participating in the Imagination Library 48% of the kindergarten and 64% of the Pre-K teachers said these students performed better than expected or much better than expected. For those not participating in the Imagination Library, these numbers were 10% and 11% respectively.
  • Imagination Library books benefit other siblings in the family who are not enrolled in Imagination Library themselves. Books are often shared with siblings, other relatives, and friends.
  • Studies have shown for every $1 invested in pre-kindergarten produces an $8.24 long-term return to society.