First lady of Ohio, Fran DeWine, wife of Governor Mike DeWine, paid a special visit to the Portsmouth Public Library Friday to read to local preschoolers.
The visit was to celebrate the success of the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library (OGIL) in Scioto County. The Imagination Library gives any child from birth to age five the opportunity to enroll to receive books from The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. After enrollment, children will begin receiving a new book each month, at no cost to their family, until they reach the age of five.
“Brain science tells us that a child’s brain is already 80% developed by the time they reach the age of three,” said DeWine. “The Ohio governor’s Imagination Library gives our youngest Ohioans critical access to books that will help them develop the early literacy skills they need to succeed inside the classroom and beyond. We want every child in every ZIP code in every county to have access to Imagination Library.”
Joining DeWine was Easterseals Central and Southeast Ohio CEO, Pandora Shaw-Dupras. “Easterseals Central and Southeast Ohio is very pleased to be a community sponsor first lady DeWine’s Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, Easterseals recognizes the importance early literacy plays in a child’s successful future.”
Paige Williams, the Director of the Portsmouth Public Library, introduced DeWine by stating, “As a first lady, she is fiercely passionate about improving early childhood literacy by spearheading the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. As a mother of eight and grandmother to 24, she has seen firsthand the power of books to change a child’s life and set them up for success.”
DeWine began speaking by thanking the people who were there supporting the Imagination Library.
“My hope is that every child in Scioto County under the age of five signs up for the Ohio Imagination Library, that’s nearly 5,000 children, in this county and it’s completely free.,” DeWine said.
DeWine showed a few titles of the books, like ‘Owl Moon’ to ‘Look Out Kindergarten…Here I Come.’
“A lot of these kids, this is the very first book they receive, the very first piece of mail that they receive addressed to them,” DeWine said. “if a child signs up at birth until five years old that it would add up to be a total of 60 books they would receive.”
Dewine explained she first learned about the Imagination Library through her grandchildren, who had signed up at their county library in Green County and got so excited to receive the books in the mailbox.
“We enjoyed reading them together, so when Mike became Governor, he and I talked about it and we thought, wouldn’t it be great to bring this program to every child in Ohio? We know that’s an aggressive goal, but Mike and I have always worked to help improve the lives of kids and the lives of Ohio families, that’s really our passion,” DeWine said.
With funding support from the Ohio Legislature and partnering with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, the DeWine’s are working toward helping all 88 Ohio counties offer the books to children.
“I am thankful that the Easterseals of Central and Southeast Ohio will administer the program here in Scioto County, they’re going to be great partners and we’re excited,” DeWine said.
DeWine shared she and her husband want to see every child enter kindergarten with a good strong start and encourages all Scioto County parents, grandparents, and caregivers to take a few minutes to enroll their children by visiting Ohioimaginationlibrary .org.
Following the news conference, DeWine moved over to another section of the library and sat down on a little kids’ chair and read ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle, to the visiting preschool children from Temple Tots and Shawnee State Preschool. DeWine held a captive audience of little ones, by showing the illustrations while reading and asking the children questions to some of the children close to her. When she finished reading the book, she graciously had all the children gather around her to have a group photo with her.
“This is my favorite thing, we have eight children and 24 grandchildren, and I love working with kids, I love playing with kids.,” DeWine said.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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