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Ontario Promoting Reading and Literacy Amongst First Nations Children

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Ontario Promoting Reading and Literacy Amongst First Nations Children

‘Imagination Library’ Literacy Program Provides Free Books Every Month

Ministry of Education

Ontario has partnered with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to provide First Nations children living on-reserve with free books to foster a love of reading and help them reach their full potential.

The Imagination Library is a monthly book service that provides books free of charge, to children up to age 5, who are enrolled in licensed child care centres and child and family programs on-reserve. To date, 36 First Nation communities have signed on to the Imagination Library program, registering 753 children.

The Imagination Library is a non-profit foundation that promotes literacy skills, and a solid foundation of reading and learning. The monthly book service focuses on early childhood learning and encourages positive interactions between parents and their children. It also improves a child's readiness for kindergarten, and sets the foundation for success in school and in life.

Helping children reach their full potential is one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government's commitment to work with Indigenous partners, and rebuild relationships based on trust and respect with First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario has committed $500,000, over two years, to the Dollywood Foundation of Canada to support the literacy program.
  • Research shows that there are positive relationships between quality early learning and child care, child development outcomes, and a parent’s ability to work. This is particularly true for vulnerable children.

Additional Resources


“This remarkable program helps to foster an important love of books in children. I want to thank Dolly Parton and her Imagination Library for working with us to give children the incredible gift of reading. Many Ontario kids up to age 5 will now benefit from receiving a new book every month and their reading adventures will help them get the best possible start in life.”

Indira Naidoo-Harris

Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care

“November marks the 1 millionth book sent to children in Canada. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library mails more than 20,000 age-appropriate books across Canada every month, and of those, 52 per cent are sent to First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities. The simple gift of a book can have an amazing impact on the lives of children and their families.”

Jeanne Smitiuch

Ontario Director for the Dollywood Foundation of Canada

Media Contacts



Education and Training