Dolly Parton on reading to children: ‘these are the memories that last forever’

Embed from Getty Images

National treasure Dolly Parton isn’t only a legendary country crooner and actress, she’s got a heart as big as her voice. The 72-year-old singer curated a video playlist on YouTube Kids as part of their global Reading Month initiative. In a quick video introducing the playlist, Dolly says that “There’s something magical about getting lost in a good book.” I couldn’t agree more. The playlist includes kid-friendly videos for Dolly’s songs “Coat of Many Colors” and “I Believe In You” as well as clips from Jimmy Fallon, Kristen Bell and the obligatory Disney video.

In an interview with PEOPLE, Dolly shared that getting books in the hands of kids is her passion, pointing out that, “These are the moments when dreams are born and these are the memories that last forever.” Dolly has been a literacy advocate for many years, creating the Imagination Library in 1995. The program encourages children to read by sending free books to kids in participating communities within the United States, U.K., Canada and Australia. In March, the organization sent out its 100 millionth book. Part of Dolly’s inspiration for fostering a love of reading in the young came from her upbringing. As she recalled:

“My dad was not able to read and write — he was a country boy with a bunch of kids, and he had to work instead of going to school when he was a little boy, and so he never had the chance to get an education,” she continued, adding that “it seemed to really bother him a lot and I thought, ‘Well, what can I do for my precious dad?’ ‘Cause he was the greatest daddy in the world and one of the smartest people I’d ever known.”

“So I said, ‘Dad, why don’t we put together a little program where we give children books from the time they’re born, once a month, until they start school?’” she explained. “That way, they can learn to read, love books. If you can read, you can kinda self-educate.”

[[From PEOPLE]

Dolly was recently recognized for her charitable work, including the Imagination Library and her recent fundraising efforts to aid those affected by the wildfire that burned through Eastern Tennessee in 2016. Last weekend, the non-profit organization Leadership Tennessee presented her with the inaugural Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.

Who doesn’t love this woman? I think it’s amazing that Dolly devotes so much of her time and energy to helping kids. In a 2011 interview, she stated that, “I’ve never been pregnant, so I just feel God didn’t mean for me to have kids, so that everybody else’s children could be mine.” A sweet sentiment from a sweet woman. Now, let’s get that 9 to 5 sequel moving along.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Dolly Parton reads the CBeebies bedtime story

Variety and Women in Film's 2017 at Gracias Madre

Photos: Getty and WENN

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

12 Responses to “Dolly Parton on reading to children: ‘these are the memories that last forever’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Christin says:

    I did not realize she was able to implement the program while her Dad was still living.

    She always speaks of her parents and her upbringing with great respect, instead of bemoaning their poverty. She still owns one of her childhood cabins in the Smokies, along with several other properties.

  2. Sayrah says:

    National Treasure. All 3 of my kids have been a part of the imagination library and I’ve donated to it as well.

  3. Jan90067 says:

    She is an American Treasure, that’s for sure!

    When my nephews were born, we read to them, before every nap time and every bedtime. Every birthday gift was a book and a toy. I told my sister to get waist high bookcases for the end of each boy’s bed to hold their collection of books. The boys loved hearing us read to them, and would just as soon reach for a book as anything in free time, which, as an aunt (who was reading since age 2) and a teacher, made my heart swell.

    With all my classes (I taught K-3), every day after they came in from lunch, I would read aloud from a class pick for 15 minutes, sometimes more if we were at an exciting point in the book. I would also bring in the books I loved as a kid to read to them (Charlotte’s Web still remains one of my favorites 😊). For class birthdays, I let them pick a book out of the class library (which I restocked at the beginning of every school year).

    If I taught them nothing else, I wanted to instill a love of books. To this day, I’m never without a book (or this blog) within arm’s reach lol. 😊

    • Doc says:

      Amazing Jan! I loved reading at school with my teacher and class! These memories do last forever and it’s so important to have this experience at a young age.

    • Hoot says:

      Jan90967: I’ll bet you are in your students’ memories as one of their favorite teachers!
      Way to go, just like Dolly!

      My favorite childhood memory (and I recently included it in her eulogy) is my mother reading me and my three brothers a bedtime story every night. It fostered a love of reading that I in turn passed on to my sons.

  4. nnire says:

    When things seem too much to bear in this weary world. I remember that somewhere, Dolly Parton is helping curate a lifelong love of reading into the hearts of children.

    The term “National Treasure” is sometimes thrown around too much, but few deserve it more than DP! Thank you for this little Friday morning pick-me-up!

  5. Digital Unicorn says:

    I love Dolly – shame she never had children and she would have clearly been a terrific mother.

  6. lucy2 says:

    What a wonderful woman. We need more Dollys in this world.

  7. Mo' Comments Mo' Problems says:

    She’s amazing and a treasure. Despite the fact that she’s in the country music world, she keeps her politics to herself but also seems to be open to supporting women and LGBT people.

  8. Ana says:

    There are more good people in the world than bad, as my mother would say. This gives me hope in this current climate.
    I will show this video to my little girl as soon as gets back from her vacation with the grandparents.

  9. Laura says:

    Dolly truly is a good soul ❤ I have always enjoyed her music, even though I am not a huge fan of country music. I loved her Christmas tv special with Kenny Rogers as a child (Kenny is also awesome!) She, like me, is childless but fills the role of auntie and general supporter of all children. I am studying to become an elementary school teacher and I hope to instill a love of reading in all of my future students 📚 A big hug and thank you to Dolly – and all gentle souls – for making this world a better place 😚