Read More in 2024 – News from the Genesis Group Literacy Education Committee

Read More in 2024 – News from the Genesis Group Literacy Education Committee

Olivia, age 19 months, doesn’t speak many words yet, but she loves to select a book for her Nana to read to her when she visits. Sarah, age 2, always chooses the “lift the flap” books for her mom to read to her at bedtime. And Daniella, age 4, reads Disney princess stories every night. They have all discovered the joy of reading, even if they can’t yet read on their own! Children exposed to reading at an early age – even from birth – are in a better position to do well in school and later in life. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Some studies have found that early reading abilities are both directly and indirectly related to long-term reading success.” According to a 2023 study by The Lucy Project:[i] “There are 45 million adults in the United States alone who cannot read. That is more than 5 times the population of New York City. If a child is not reading at grade level by fourth grade, they are statistically likely to remain illiterate throughout their life. Not only do struggling readers experience higher levels of stress and feelings of isolation during their school years, but they also have a dramatically increased chance of dropping out of high school and entering the criminal justice system.”

The Genesis Group’s Literacy Committee launched the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) program in September 2023 in partnership with Perch Place LLC’s R4K (Ready for Kindergarten) Program. The Imagination Library mails more than 2.4 million high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to registered children from birth to age five. Local school districts are eligible to join the program. The Utica City School District and Camden Central School District are currently participating in the program in our region to send a free book every month to children under five years of age. As of January 31, 2024, 765 books are being sent out each month. 

The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley was started over 24 years ago with a mission to support and strengthen our entire community in a variety of areas: Education, Healthcare, Data Analytics, Small Businesses, to name a few. The focus on Education includes yearly events such as Teacher Appreciation Week, Excellence in Education Recognition, Drone Camps, and Career, College, and Life Ready programs. The Literacy Committee was formed this past year with the goal to provide information, resources, and events to promote literacy in our region. In September 2023, over 30 people — a collaboration among area libraries, school districts, colleges, not-for-profits and businesses—gathered to inventory available programs and resources and create new initiatives, goals and an action plan. The launch of the DPIL is just the start of the Committee’s plans. 

As a tribute to her father who could not read, Dolly Parton created the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) to inspire kids to love to read. As of January 2024, over 229 million books have been gifted since the program’s inception in 1995. The Genesis Group is one of 2,700 local program partners of the DPIL in collaboration with our local Ready for Kindergarten (R4K) Program. Local school districts need only contact Robin Robinson at to inquire about joining. Let’s commit to instilling a love of reading in our children, our future leaders. Consider adding another new year’s resolution to those you selected at the start of this new year: “Read more in 2024!” Dr. Seuss wrote: “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” Encouraging our children to read daily expands their world and gives them a foundation for future success. 

John Reale, Genesis Literacy Committee Co-Chair said “Having the DPIL program back in central NY is a great benefit to our children! As a community we need to work together to inspire our children to enjoy reading and learning. The Genesis Group is the organization that can assist with this along with partnering with Perch Place, LLC. We look forward to enhancing other areas of literacy in the months ahead.” 

Roxanne Mutchler, Genesis Literacy Committee Co-Chair said, “We are grateful for the incredible opportunity to foster literacy in young children by providing brand-new books to children under the age of 5, stimulating their imaginations, strengthening their cognitive abilities, and instilling a life-long love of books.”

Robin Robinson, President of Perch Place, LLC states, “We’re delighted to report that the Dolgeville Central School District was recently added and already 50 children have been enrolled to receive their books in February. We look forward to more districts investing in the future of their upcoming students and joining Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Book Program this year!” 

· The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley Region:

·       Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library:

·       The Genesis Group Literacy Program: literacy-education/

·       Ready 4 Kindergarten (R4K) Program: or call 315-880-0551

·       Email The Genesis Group at


by the Genesis Group Literacy Education Committee

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