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Dolly gives local girl first Braille book in program
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Six-year-old Cameron Burkett grabbed the spotlight at Dollywood when she was presented the first Braille book in the Imagination Library program by none other than Dolly Parton herself.
The Warren County resident, who is preparing to enter first grade at Centertown Elementary in August, has been blind since birth. She was born three months early, weighed 2 pounds, 9 ounces, and had optic nerve problems as a result.
Like most first-graders, Cameron is learning to read. The difference is she will undertake the challenge with her fingertips not her eyes. That’s the reason Imagination Library has expanded to include Braille books, according to Parton.
“Any credit I get is really due to the hard work and fine reputation of all of those who partner with us to bring the love of reading to so many kids,” said Parton in presenting a Braille version of “The Little Engine That Could” to Cameron. “I’m just thrilled we can work together to bring this same joy to all children who may have trouble seeing but have no trouble in believing all of their dreams can come true.”
Cameron’s father, Brad, says she has just started reading Braille and describes the process as “pretty complicated.” He says the faculty at Centertown has done an excellent job of working with Cameron, who is an exuberant child.
“She has mastered running through our house,” said Brad. “We just have to be careful not to move an object somewhere that she’s not familiar with. Outside, she knows every inch of our yard. She can go from the pool to the swingset to the trampoline to the garden. She can jump on the trampoline and doesn’t fall off.”
Imagination Library is a program that has put more than 34 million free books in the hands of children ages 5 and under. It’s now offered in every county in Tennessee.