Home » Resources »

Imagination Library of Colorado

Investigating Kindergarten Readiness

School age boy sits on bed smiles while reading a book.

Project Summary

The Colorado Lab is supporting the Imagination Library of Colorado (ILCO) in assessing the impact of their book program on kindergarten readiness. ILCO partners with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) book program to deliver a high quality, age appropriate book every month to all registered children ages 0-5 at no cost to the child’s family. In 2021, the General Assembly passed and the Governor signed a bill subsidizing half the cost of books for the program and mandating a program evaluation. Existing research on the causal impacts of the DPIL book program is limited and no one has examined the impact on kindergarten readiness.

The Colorado Lab is partnering with five school districts that have a large number of ILCO book program participants residing in their catchment areas to share kindergarten readiness data through the Linked Information Network of Colorado (LINC). The evaluation will compare ILCO program graduates to demographically similar students in the same school district who have not participated in the ILCO program. The evaluation report is expected to be publicly available in July 2025.

Steps to Building Evidence

This project uses a matched comparison analytic design, which is at Step 4 on the Steps to Building Evidence.


The ILCO evaluation findings will contribute to the best available research evidence on book programs for young children. In conjunction with decision-maker expertise and information about community needs and implementation context, the findings have the potential to inform whether the state continues subsidizing the ILCO book program.

Participating school districts have also expressed interest in the results to inform their investment of time in recruiting families to enroll their youngest children in the ILCO book program. District personnel have also mentioned the possibility of developing a similar program for their early elementary-aged children if the results are promising.

two young sisters sit on couch reading a book together

Get Involved

For more information about working with the Colorado Lab, see Government and Community Partnerships or Research Partnerships.