Community Organizations Kick-Off Summer Reading Program
The Children’s Reading Foundation of Dona Ana County and The Community Action Agency held a book fair this past Saturday in Las Cruces to kick-off a program that is designed to get young children excited about reading.
The “Read Up” program will distribute 35,000 books to children eight and under in Dona Ana County during an 8-week period this summer.
Parents and children who attended the event followed colorful footprints leading to creative activities, storytelling, games, and a room full of books. At the fair, benefit information and vision screening was also offered to families.
Both organizations putting on this event saw an opportunity to collaborate with each other to achieve the goal of improving the literacy rate among young children in the county.
“We thought this would be a great time to partner and really have a greater impact so we could both be distributing books at the same time with all the fun activities, and just making a greater impact on literacy in the communities,” said Dawn Hommer, CEO of Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico.
Kids in attendance at the fair were allowed to take home at least three books with them, and even more books will be sent to them each month during the program, as well as being placed throughout communities across the Dona Ana County.
“The whole goal is to have each child to have eight books in their home. The more books they have, the better,” said Trudy Gallegos, Program Director of The Children’s Reading Foundation of Dona Ana County.
The event also aimed to prevent the summer “brain drain” that has many students and teachers dedicating the first month of the new school year on reviewing material that may have been forgotten over summer vacation.
Parents attending the event wanted their children to be prepared for the upcoming school year. “What a great way to get kids interested in reading and get them started in that direction,” said Thomas Buckner, a parent attending the event.
The books where divided into different age groups, and were offered in both English, Spanish, or even a Bilingual format. A focus of the “Read Up” program is to reach out to Bilingual and Spanish speaking families in the County.
Vicki Campos attended the event, she was happy to see the bilingual options, because she is raising her children to be bilingual.
“Not only does it help them, but it helps them when they get older, because they can translate for other people,” said Campos.
The Children’s Reading Foundation has plans to expand the Ready for Kindergarten program that works to reach over 468 families. The group also has other programs that distribute thousands of books in the community, and also offers training programs for parents and childcare workers on making sure children in the county are well prepared for kindergarten.