Have you met Freddy? If you haven’t, you really should, he’s a bundle of energy, excitement and imagination. We had the chance to connect with Freddy and his family a few weeks ago and we were inspired by the time we spent with them. Freddy is now five years old and in kindergarten at KMS, he also happens to be the 5,000th graduate of the United Way of West Central Minnesota’s Imagination Library program. He’s showing off one of his favorite books he received through the program – The Runaway Tomato, by Kim Cooley Reeder. For the record Freddy had a whole pile of his favorite books for us to see.

The Imagination Library program provides age appropriate books to children, one each month, up until their fifth birthday to help improve their vocabulary and literacy skills and ultimately better prepare children for kindergarten. It also creates a opportunity for parents and grandparents to be actively engaged in their child’s education. These books are provided free to the children and their families through the generosity of donors to the United Way of West Central Minnesota.

Back to Freddy… We can see the attention he gives to this time with his family as we shared the experience of reading one of his favorite book received through the Imagination Library program, The Gruffalo. The story just grabs Freddy’s attention and he was immersed in the characters and the vibrant pictures. As his dad read the story aloud, Freddy read along and his facial expressions showed his connection to the Gruffalo and the little mouse. This might be the best part of the Imagination Library program, family engagement and interaction. The development of reading skills, enhancing vocabulary and expanding one’s imagination through reading are very important, but seeing Freddy’s parents spending quality time reading to Freddy and teaching him are simply amazing.

If you would like to help children across west central Minnesota be part of this amazing program you can pledge your support by clicking here. If you happen to know a child under the age of five and would like sign them up to receive Imagination Library books, please sign them up today.