Bookworm program gives head start in reading
To buy a calendar
The Rock County Association for Home and Community Education is selling 2013 Rock County barn quilt calendars. Proceeds will be used to buy books for Head Start students.
Until 300 calendars are sold, they will be available for $10 by calling 608-868-4240. They also are being sold in:
Milton: Dave's Milton Ace Hardware, 430 S. John Paul Road; Loose Threads, 8005 Highway 26; and Red Rooster, 613 W. Madison Ave.
Evansville: The Grove Quilt Co., 7 E. Main St.
Janesville: Rock County UW Extension Office in the Rock County Courthouse, 51 S. Main St.
Shopiere: Vaughn Johnson; call (608) 751-4261.
JANESVILLE For families in poverty, books for their children might fall to last on the spending list.
Members of the Rock County Association for Home and Community Education hope to use money from their calendar fundraiser to support the Wisconsin Bookworm reading program at Head Start in Rock County.
"Our children need this," said Cheryl Hutchison, family and community partnerships team leader at Head Start, a federally funded program that targets children ages 3 to 5 years olds with education, nutrition and other services.
"This is the foundation for them. The more they have to read, the more they get excited for reading," she said.
The Rock County Association for Home and Community Education is selling calendars that feature pictures of Rock County barn quilts and brief histories. They cost $10 and are being sold at a half-dozen locations until all 300 are sold, Jeanette Beard, association president, wrote in an email.
Last year, the group was able to buy 54 sets of books. Head Start children in one class each received eight books. This year, each of the children will get three books, she said.
Each set of books cost $23, Beard said.
"We would have liked to do more sets but didn't have the funds. I hope to write for some more grants to supplement the calendar sales," she said.
Wisconsin Public Television is a partner in Wisconsin Bookworms.
"They present a list of books for the year and ask input from various counties using the program. Then we send them the order for the book sets," Beard said.
Home and Community Education volunteers will read a book to the children, lead an activity centered on the book and leave a book for that Head Start classroom, Hutchison said.
"By leaving a book in the classroom, the children are reminded they have this book to read, which oftentimes becomes their favorite book. It's used to promote family literacy at home as well as for the child to see how important it is to read," she said.
When Bookworm volunteer readers are scheduled to be in the classroom, teacher often invite the children's parents.
"A lot of times, parents have not been read to as children, so the reader demonstrates a lot, and we're doing some teaching for the parent, as well," Hutchison said.
Every child gets to take home extra books.
"So the child is really excited when they go home with the book and talk about it," Hutchison said.
Hutchison praised local Home and Community Education members and the value of what they're doing.
"How wonderful are these women who give of their time, do these fundraisers, order the books, then are willing to travel to Janesville and into Beloit. They are just amazing people," she said.
"By reading about other things and other places, Head Start children have their imagination grow," Hutchison said. "And at this age, that is critical."