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Raising Readers
in the Heartland

Raising Readers, Creating Opportunities!

Parents Reading to Child

Currently Operating in the following zip codes:

ALLEMAN: 50007

ELKHART: 50073


POLK CITY: 50226



How the Program Works

Currently, RRITH is operating in Alleman, Elkhart, Mitchellville, Polk City, Runnells, and Sheldahl. Our goal is to open all zip codes as soon as funding is available.

Raising Readers in the Heartland partners with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL) to inspire a love of reading by gifting one book per month, free of charge, to children from birth to age five who currently live in Polk County.

About Imagination Library

In 1995, Dolly Parton launched an exciting effort, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families. The new program gave each child a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age appropriate books directly to their homes, Dolly wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.

Since its launch, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has set and surpassed many goals and milestones. The first book order in 1995 totaled just over 1,700. Today, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library sends more than two million books per month to children around the world inspiring them to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More.

How the Birth to 5 Program Works

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library puts books into the hands and hearts of children around the world. Each month, DPIL mails all registered children from birth to age five a high quality, age-appropriate book at no cost to the child’s family.

Each book is personalized with the child’s name and mailed directly to the child’s home. The first book a child receives is “The Little Engine That Could™” (customized version). The month a child turns five years old, they will receive “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!” (customized version).

Countless parents have shared how excited their child is when their new book arrives each month. Many groups and individuals work hard behind the scenes to make that special moment possible for each child.


Currently, RRITH is operating in Alleman, Elkhart, Mitchellville, Polk City, Runnells, and Sheldahl. Our goal is to open all zip codes as soon as funding is available. You can sign up be alerted when the program opens in your zip code here.

You can enroll your child online on the Imagination Library website.

You can download and print an application form. Complete it and return it to Raising Readers in the Heartland.

Application form in English

Read Aloud Tips

Tip #1: Let the child pick the book.

Tip #2: Find a comfortable space to read together.

Tip #3: Slow down and look at the illustrations together.

Tip #4: Ask questions as you read.

Tip #5: Start small. Attention spans grow the more you read!

Tip #6: Use different voices and make the most of sound effects!

Tip #7: Read and repeat. Repetition helps with language and reading fluency.

Tip #8: Explain new words in the book—but only a few at a time.

Tip #9: Make reading part of your regular routine.

Tip #10: Continue to read aloud as children get older

Mom reading to Daughter Dad reading to Daughter