First words

Letter Carrier Paul Hall delivers books to a child in Washington, DC, recently.


A charitable program that uses the Postal Service to deliver free books to children is expanding, part of a broader effort to boost literacy rates across the United States.

The Books From Birth initiative was announced last week in Washington, DC. Parents in the city who sign up will receive one free book each month that will be delivered by local letter carriers.

More than 2,900 children have already enrolled in the program, Washington City Paper reported.

“A pathway to the middle class starts with a good education — and it is never too early to start,” DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “Parents that use books and who sing, talk and read with infants play a crucial role in giving their children a strong education foundation.”

The program is part of the nonprofit Imagination Library, which supplies free books to more than 885,000 children in 1,500 communities across the nation.

Statistics and independent reports have shown the library’s efforts have dramatically improved early childhood literacy and reading scores for those enrolled.

The library, an extension of Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Foundation, has mailed 60 million books since its launch in 1995.

The library’s site has more information.