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Originally published Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 12:51p.m.

Dollar General District 496 Manager Rhonnie Tilton presented Verde Valley Imagination Library a $5,000 grant to support Verde Valley youth literacy.

Since 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $127 million to nonprofit organizations and schools that have helped more than 7.9 million individuals advance their literacy and basic education skills (www.dgliteracy.org).

The Verde Valley Imagination Library (VVIL) is a nonprofit organization and affiliate of the national Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Presently, VVIL has 1400 Verde Valley children, ages birth to five years old, enrolled.

When children are enrolled infancy, it is literally a free-gift of a 60-volume set of high quality books published by Penguin Random House and chosen by developmental specialists.

With the help of volunteers and Verde Valley libraries, VVIL’s goal is to enroll 2000 Verde Valley children by July 2018.

Dr. Jean Barton, VVIL’s board president, retired pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics, explains: “Babies’ brains grow fast when parents talk, read, sing and play with them. It’s like planting seeds that grow. 90 percent of a child’s brain develops by age 5. Reading every day is the best way to build language skills needed to learn to read. Babies learn by playing, so follow their lead.  One ritual worth starting early is the bedtime story. When parents cuddle with their baby, a book and a story, kids learn to love that time with their parents. There is no better way to inspire a life-long love of books and reading.”  

Verde Valley Parents can enroll their children online at: www.imaginationlibrary.com

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