March is National Reading Month, and the nonprofit is helping children celebrate the month at their local library and at home.
“Approximately 2 years ago, a number of us in the community got together to take a look at how we could improve literacy in our early childhood groups,” said Lake City Area Schools Superintendent Kim Blaszak.
Let’s Read, Lake City!, in partnership with Lake City Area Schools and the Missaukee District Library, aims to support early literacy by making reading aloud a part of every child’s life.
“[Let’s Read, Lake City!] was born out of the essential literacy practices that we are implementing in our school district,” said Blaszak. “We were trying to figure out a way that we could really help bolster the vocabulary, the print awareness, and really bring that alive for our early Lake City students.”
The program first started out by putting free books for families to take in local businesses. Then, the idea grew to read aloud roundups—events for children and parents to hear a story read aloud.
“We went out to areas beyond the library so that families that live farther away would have an opportunity to have some programming,” said Let’s Read, Lake City! Director Ann Guidarini. “That allows us the opportunity to model reading aloud a book that then can go home with the family and they’ve seen it read aloud already.”
Families are then able to take home their own book, as well as a hands-on activity for the children to do that relates to the book.
Let’s Read, Lake City! also encourages children and families to read 1000 books before kindergarten.
“Families can do it at their own pace, and they just keep track very simply with how many books they read,” said Guidarini. “Every time they read 50 books, they can come to the library and they get a prize: a book for their home library or some learning materials for home.”
Lake City mom Megan Park started bringing her daughters, Oakley and Hazel, to Let’s Read, Lake City! programs since the start of the nonprofit.
“It gives me time to sit down with them and do something with them, and they really enjoy that,” said Park.
She says Oakley loves keeping track of how many books she reads for her 1000 books before kindergarten project.
“She puts her sticker on her sheet and we go and hand it in,” said Park. “She gets a little prize and she gets all excited!”
Most importantly, Park enjoys the fact that these reading programs have brought her and her daughters closer together.
“Our kids are the most important thing in our lives and we want to give them the best,” she said.” Having these programs, as far as the books and the projects, it really brings us all together with doing all that.”
To sign up for Let’s Read, Lake City!, you can register in person at the Pioneer Township Hall in Lake City or the Missaukee District Library.
© 2023 - 910 Media Group