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Region Stories

These stories illustrate how early childhood programs and services funded by First Things First make a difference for young children and families in communities across Arizona.

Globe sisters’ literacy skills developed through book program

​​Sammi Jenkins signed up her two daughters for Dolly Parton’s Imagination book Library when her youngest daughter Casper was born.

A Gila County librarian told Jenkins about the First Things First-funded program that mails a developmentally appropriate children’s book to the home each month until the child turns 6.

The books prompted Jenkins to start reading daily to her 2-year-old daughter Reevis and baby Casper. As the girls grew older, the bookshelf in their room grew as well.

“Each girl gets to pick out one book a night that we read together,” Jenkins said. “They anticipate the books coming and the trip to the mailbox has turned into a fun family routine.”

Now that Reevis is in frst grade and Casper is in kindergarten, Jenkins said she couldn’t be prouder of the girls’ reading and credits the program for helping her daughters be ready for school.

“Reevis is at the top of her class in reading and is now reading to her little sister,” Jenkins said.

Casper is also an avid reader, who admits to sometimes sneaking a read in with a fashlight after lights out after bedtime. Casper’s literacy also inspired her to write a letter to the White House demanding that Cookie Monster be allowed back on Sesame Street despite his unhealthy eating habits, Jenkins said.

Reading continues to be a fun family activity. Both mother and father now take the sisters to the Globe Public Library every week, so they browse for books to read at home for the week.

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