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Spotlight   |  Spring 2005

Ready readers

 

Image: Ready readers

Ashley Lengel (left) and Brook Irgang enjoy Noisy Breakfast, one of the books provided to Wabash County pre-schoolers through a Purdue Extension literacy project. (Photo by Mike Kerper)

Books are prized possessions for Wabash County preschoolers, even though most still need help reading them. They eagerly grab books, look at the pictures and ask their teachers to read the words.

The book bonanza is courtesy of Purdue Extension. Teresa Witkoske, consumer and family sciences educator in Wabash and Grant counties, received a $25,000 grant last year to provide free books to children in pre-schools and day care centers in Wabash County.

While the program promotes literacy, it also teaches the early learners about food and fitness, resolving conflicts and how to handle money. “This effort supports the importance of reading, but the books are not just for entertainment,” she says. “The topics selected all promote skills necessary for the healthy development of children.”

The grant provides funding for 700 children to receive 12 books each. An estimated 10,000 books will be distributed by July 2006. In addition, literacy theme kits train childcare providers at the sites. The project is a collaborative effort among Purdue Extension, Manchester College's early childhood education department and the Community Foundation of Wabash County.

Witkoske also supplies free children's books to a group that takes reading materials to the Wabash County jail. These books are not for the inmates, but for their children. “The books are taken first to the jail, where incarcerated parents are taped reading,” she says. “Then, the books and tapes are delivered to the children. Even if a parent isn't home at night to read to a son or daughter, the child can still be read to. It's a heart-warming program.”

 

© 2005 Purdue University College of Agriculture

 

 

 

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