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Connections

Coming up on Connections: Friday, December 8, 2023

2-year old Avayah Rivers is one of about 3,000 Rochester children enrolled in Dolly Parton's "Imagination Library." Avayah's mother, LaToya Stevenson, wants to ensure that her daughter develops language and reading skills early in life. She believes children who are immersed in technology don't exercise their imagination.
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2-year old Avayah Rivers is one of about 3,000 Rochester children enrolled in Dolly Parton's "Imagination Library." Avayah's mother, LaToya Stevenson, wants to ensure that her daughter develops language and reading skills early in life. She believes children who are immersed in technology don't exercise their imagination.

First hour: How Rochester's Imagination Library is helping improve literacy rates among some of the city's youngest kids

Second hour: Special programming - Hanukkah Lights 2023

Some of Rochester’s youngest kids are getting mail each month, and caregivers and educators say what’s in the package is helping them both at home and in the classroom. About one in four preschoolers in Rochester are enrolled in the local chapter of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The program delivers a new book in the mail every month. Studies show the Imagination Library helps improve Kindergarten readiness and makes it more likely that families will read to their children. This hour, we continue our series of conversation about how to improve literacy rates among children. Our guests explore how programs like the Imagination Library are helping our community’s youngest readers. Our guests:

  • Matt Present, M.D., founder of the Rochester chapter of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Carol St. George, Ed.D., professor and director of the literacy teacher education program at the Warner School of Education
  • Laquanda M. Fields, director of community engagement for the Rochester chapter of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and librarian at Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School #19 in the Rochester City School District
  • LaToya Stevenson, ambassador for the Rochester chapter of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and parent whose daughter is enrolled in the program

Then in our second hour, it’s special programming with “Hanukkah Lights 2023.” This NPR favorite returns with the best of the best “Hanukkah Lights” stories plus a special musical performance by The LeeVees. The hour is hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

Connections
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.