Read to Me Day in Garfield County has volunteers sharing books with kids
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen spent part of his morning Tuesday doing some leisurely reading. The book, titled “Mother, Mother, I Want Another,” written by Maria Polushkin Robbins, is in the children’s book genre.
It’s not Christensen’s typical reading material, but he’ll jump at the opportunity to read for pleasure.
“I’ve not had that one in my library,” Christensen said. “I spend a good deal of time reading a lot of technical documents, but I still read about a book a week.”
Christensen read to a group of 3- and 4-year-old children at the Valley View Early Learning Center in participation with the Read to Me Day event. The purpose of the event was to have community leaders emphasize the importance of reading.
“Children, at small ages, are very impressionable,” said Early Learning Fund Executive Director Jayne Poss. “When they see the mayor or the fireman or the cowboy reading to them and telling them how much they all love to read, it plants the literacy seeds.”
Read to Me Day in Garfield County developed through a partnership between Poss and the Raising a Reader program she runs through Early Learning Fund and the Garfield County Department of Human Services child-care program. Tuesday, approximately 30 volunteers, like Christensen, read aloud to groups of children ranging in age from 2 to 5 years old.
“We tried to locate all child-care providers in Glenwood and asked them if they would like to have a reader come,” said Donna Ward of the county Department of Human Services. “We tried to match the programs with professionals to raise the level of awareness of child care as well.”
Ward and Poss both agreed the turnout was better than they envisioned.
“It was a great event,” Ward said. “I was impressed with all the people that wanted to be involved.”
Volunteers included local veterinarians, nurses, Realtors, an art director, mothers, musicians, representatives from the county attorney’s office, fishermen, Garfield County Treasurer Georgia Chamberlain, and of course the mayor himself.
“The bottom line is to focus on early literacy, but there is an underlying philosophy that the community members care about the children,” Ward said. “It was a very amazing response of the willingness to participate.”
La Tribuna Editor Luis Polar read to a group of Spanish-speaking Hispanic children at the Even Start Program at Glenwood Springs Elementary School. The program’s purpose is to encourage reading no matter what language.
“I like the opportunity to be involved with the children and teach them the importance of reading,” Polar said. “In this day and age, it’s important to teach the young kids to have a love of language and of their native tongue.”
Polar added that including predominantly-Spanish-speaking kids in the Read to Me program also encourages an understanding of language in those students and also teaches them about the differences in cultures.
“It gives them a broader perspective,” Polar said. “Understanding, that’s critical, and that’s important to me.”
It’s those views from the leaders in the community and their promotion of reading that will help these kids find a passion for reading as well.
“When I was their age, I didn’t have a television,” Christensen said. “Television is a good way to learn, but books are even more important because it allows you to use your own imagination.”
Contact John Gardner: 384-9114
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon closed around 9 p.m. Thursday for a flash flood warning.