Wisconsin Bookworms

Planting the Seed of Excitement for Reading at an Early Age

We've been hearing it for years: parents aren't reading to their children enough. One 2013 study from the School Library Journal sites that two-thirds of parents don't read to their children every night. Another 2016 survey from group Read Aloud 15 Minutes found that half of all parents read aloud to their children on a daily basis, and only 34% of parents read aloud to their children every day. The list goes on.

The Green Lake Home and Community Education Wisconsin Bookworms project is actively making a difference to ridge this gap. The program was developed in an effort to provide free books to children who may not otherwise be able to own them. Wisconsin Bookworms promotes reading by giving preschool children the experience of having someone read to them. By reading aloud to young children and providing them with free books of their own, these volunteers are providing this critical activity that so many parents are ignoring.

Filling a Community Need
Reading to young children helps them develop a love of reading along with an enthusiasm for learning. Children from families with limited incomes may not have the opportunity to own many books. According to the US Department of Education "some experts believe that for America's poorest children, the biggest obstacle to literacy is the scarcity of books and appropriate reading material. In many homes, particularly those with adult non-readers, there simply aren't any books appropriate for young children.

There is considerable evidence of a relationship between reading regularly to a child and that child's later reading achievement. It is based on research indicating that literacy is key to staying in school and out of trouble. Studies show that parents who are given books and a prescription for reading by their children's pediatricians are four times more likely to read and share books with their young children. Children who are read to frequently are nearly twice as likely as other children to show three or more skills associated with emerging literacy. Wisconsin Bookworms brings together readers, mentors, and children on a regular basis throughout the school year.

This past academic year, Wisconsin Bookworms in Green Lake County provided a set of eight books to 170 three and four year old children in early childhood, Head Start, and 4K programs. Each month, fifteen volunteers read books to the children, engaged them in a related activity, and gave the child the book to take home to keep, and read at home. That's a staggering 1360 books and over 500 volunteer hours reading to children!
 

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