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‘Dolly Day’ makes for a good read in W.Va.

Wednesday was Dolly Day across West Virginia — and it was a real page-turner.

That’s Dolly as in Dolly Parton, the country music superstar-turned advocate for the printed word.

The state’s Department of Education and Board of Education hosted read-aloud events across West Virginia for the day in honor of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the outreach endeavor she founded to get books in the hands of youngsters who might not have that opportunity otherwise.

Parton came up with the idea in 1995.

Her mission was to promote childhood literacy in Sevier County, Tenn., where she grew up in just such a household.

The enterprise isn’t a lending library; it’s a gifting one.

Free books — Braille and audio editions included — are regularly mailed to children across the nation from newborn to age 5.

That’s more than 2 million age-appropriate titles a month in the Mountain State.

The effort here is supported by the Department of Education and June Harless Center at Marshall University.

It was born, as the story goes, of love and literacy.

Robert Lee Parton, her late father, valued education as much as his family.

However, as a child in poverty, he quit going to school so he could go to work to help his parents put food on the table.

At a ceremony in 2017 at the Library of Congress — it was held on the occasion of the Imagination Library’s then-gifting of its 100th-million book — a daughter remembered.

“Daddy couldn’t read or write,” she said, “and it was kind of crippling to him.”

Gov. Jim Justice last year issued a proclamation marking Aug. 9 as Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Day in West Virginia.

Read-aloud events on this day were held in 33 of the Mountain State’s 55 counties.

In Monongalia, Amber Nichols, West Virginia’s Teacher of the Year for 2023, turned pages at her school, Eastwood Elementary.

City libraries, local churches and county fairgrounds were the sites of other celebrations of books and storytelling.

Lydotta Taylor, a former teacher who is the founder and CEO of the EdVenture Group, a tech and professional development company in Morgantown, has long been a proponent of books and reading.

As a young mom, she read aloud to her children while they were growing up.

Back in her classroom days, she was always encouraging her students to crack open a book — and not just serious learning.

Taylor wanted them to enjoy the fun, escapist entertainment of simply digging into a good book.

“And I taught math and science,” she said.

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