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Support childhood reading program

The organization’s goal is ambitious: Put a free book in the hands of all Lincoln County children ages birth to 5 years.

Ferst Readers of Lincoln County believes that children who are exposed to books and reading at a young age are better equipped to start school successfully. The research backs them up.

“Children who start kindergarten having had early reading experiences at home are happier and more successful students all through school,” Pam Womack with the organization said. “We want to reach everybody, but especially we want to reach children who do not have books in their home for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s economic reasons, sometimes it’s just because the parent doesn’t realize how important reading is.”

That idea is backed up by Dawn Fuller, preschool director of Mamie Martin Preschool.

“Reading is the foundation of all learning,” she said. “It is so important for parents to read to their children. If we begin reading to our children from the time they are infants, they will establish a love of books. Toddlers will read a book by looking at pictures and begin to retell the story in their own words when parents take the time to read to them. By the time they are in preschool they will have learned a pattern of turning the pages, reading the words from left to right, associating letters with their sounds, and beginning to recognize sight words.”

The local effort is part of a national non-profit that mails age-appropriate books to children enrolled in the program each month. The cost for 12 books a year is $36. The group needs about $80,000 to be fully funded, and it is seeking help from the community.

“We want to make the community aware of this and to make them understand that a very small contribution can make a very big difference in a child’s life. It helps the schools because children go to school ready,” Womack said.

Sponsorships are also available for patrons who want to purchase a year for a specific child. The cost is $40 to name the child who will receive the service. The group will accept donations of any size.

We encourage the community to support this effort. Helping the next generation succeed in school will pay dividends for years to come.