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Program helps raise readers

Ivy Vogel

When Alma Lomeli was a little girl growing up in Mexico, her parents were always working and didn’t have time to read her books.As Lomeli got older, she took it upon herself to pursue reading. To this day, Lomeli loves to read and reads books to her children in Spanish and English.”I’ve been reading to my kids since the first day,” Lomeli said. “They choose all kinds of books, whatever they want to read.”Wednesday morning, Lomeli and other parents sat with their preschoolers in Glenwood’s Even Start program waiting for their kids to receive Raising A Reader book bags.Raising A Reader is a literacy program designed to encourage parents with children ages 0-5 to read to their kids. Each child in the program gets a cloth book bag full of books. Some of the books are in English and some are in Spanish but they’re all suited for young kids. Kids take the book bags home for one week. During that week parents are expected to read the books to their kids. When the week is over, the child returns the book bag to class and swaps it for another bag with different books.Developing literacy skills during preschool years is critical, said Jayne Poss, program coordinator. Raising A Reader makes reading to kids fun and easy because the kids like the books and parents don’t have to go out of their way to find the books, she said.This is the first year Raising A Reader is in the valley and it will serve more than 350 children in Head Start programs, pre-schools, Even Start and other programs for young children. Next year, Poss hopes to serve more than 550 additional children in the valley.”Getting books in the home is the most important thing to see with young children,” said Melissa Taucher, Even Start teacher. “If you can get a young child to enjoy books it will be a lifelong experience.””Getting books in the home is the most important thing to see with young children,” said Melissa Taucher, Even Start teacher. “If you can get a young child to enjoy books it will be a lifelong experience.”


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