Wisconsin Bookwormsâ„¢ program seeking donations

Photo by Sanja Gjenero via morgueFile.com

A local literacy program that has put over 9,000 free books in the hands and homes of young children is seeking support from the community.

Through the Wisconsin Bookwormsâ„¢ program, a local project of the Kenosha County Association for Home & Community Education (KCAHCE), children are visited in local Head Start classrooms by volunteers who read a book the children get to keep. HCE began participating in the Wisconsin Bookwormsâ„¢ literacy project in 1999 when volunteers read to 34 children. It has expanded each year and volunteers now are reading to more than 200 children enrolled in Head Start programs at Westosha Head Start Center in Wilmot and Cesar Chavez Learning Station in Kenosha and distributing 1400 books in the 2012 – 2013 school year. Each book presented to the children to keep is personalized with a bookplate inside the front cover that has the child’s name. Inserted in the back of each book is an activity sheet to be used at home to help further generate interest in reading by suggesting a fun activity that ties into the story and creates interaction between the child and family member. The sheet also provides recommendations for other books with similar themes or by the same author in an effort to motivate them to search out additional books through their local library.

Teachers, readers and families agree that the three most important components of Wisconsin Bookwormsâ„¢ Program are providing new books for children to take home, reading volunteers for classrooms, and classroom and parent activity suggestions. Activity sheets are written for each of the books in both English and Spanish. A previous state-wide survey indicated 65% of the families have used these activities with their child at home.

Parents have reported positive changes as a result of Wisconsin Bookwormsâ„¢ Program:

  • 89% talk more often with their children about books.
  • 81% read to their children more often.
  • 50% visited the public library more often.

Parents say the Wisconsin Bookwormsâ„¢ Program provides resources that are not available from anyone else, giving their children a variety of free books and activity sheets and the experience of having someone read to them. (http://www.wahceinc.org/bookwormsindex.html) Financial support of this program is accomplished through grants and fund raising efforts of KCAHCE volunteers. This year the Molly D. Burns Foundation for Children (www.mdbf4kids.org) has agreed to match financial donations made to the Kenosha County Wisconsin Bookworms program from September through November of this year. Tax deductible financial donations should be made to KCAHCE Wisconsin Bookwormsâ„¢ and mailed to UW Extension-Kenosha, PO Box 550, Bristol, WI 53104. Questions should be directed to Karen Dietz at 262-857-6557.


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