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Published July 13, 2012, 08:49 PM

Lake Region Program Promoting Early-childhood Reading

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - North Dakota First Lady Betsy Dalrymple was in the Lake Region promoting child literacy. A new program aims to help children develop a love of reading from birth.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - North Dakota First Lady Betsy Dalrymple was in the Lake Region promoting child literacy.

A new program aims to help children develop a love of reading from birth.

The Imagination Library reading program will give kids a free book every month for the first five years of their life.

Dalrymple visited the Lake Region to promote Dolly Parton's Imagination Program.

"I was an elementary school teacher when Jack and I were first married. I taught school in Fargo and when I became first lady I thought, 'OK, what are my passions in my life?'" Dalrymple said.

About 400 Lake Region families have already signed up for the program and get a free book once a month. Some parents are already seeing a positive effect.

"We received our first book this week and that kind of motivated them to dig into their other books, and get interested in the other books we already have at our house," parent Amy Berg said.

"Just the habit of sitting down together with mom or dad, especially dad. That would be rare. But sitting down, even if they're not understanding what's going on initially, just having quiet time. Just look at the pictures. Eventually they'll link the pictures with what's going on," Lake Region Public Library Director Jim Chattin said.

The First Lady says the program has already flourished in other North Dakota cities.

"88 percent say their kids showed more interest in books once they got these books in the mail," Dalrymple said.

With the convenience of having the books home-delivered for free, parents say there's no reason not to join the program.

"It's one of the best things you can do to get your kids interested in reading," Berg said.

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