2012-07-26 / Community

Great Start reading program geared toward area children

‘Imagination Library’ brings books to kids

MANISTIQUE – The Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative is excited to announce an effort to get books into the hands of zero to five-yearolds in the two-county area using the “Dolly Parton Imagination Library”.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a community-funded program delivering an ageappropriate book to a child once a month through the mail. All children ages 0-5 will be eligible to sign up for the program once it is started. For the next year, the DSGSC will seek donations, as well as community partners willing to commit to support the project.

Research shows reading aloud to young children is the single most effective tool for developing language, cognitive, and literacy skills. Reading aloud also builds motivation, curiosity, memory, and creates a nurturing, one-on-one connection between parents and their children.

“By getting books into the homes of young children, we are not only hoping to increase our literacy rates, but also to foster a love for reading and learning,” said Tara Weaver, director of the DSGSC. According to 2010 Kids Count data, Delta and Schoolcraft counties fall slightly below the state average for the percent of children achieving reading proficiency in third grade. Poverty rates are also a concern and have been slowly on the rise.

“When families don’t have enough money to buy groceries, books certainly do not fall high on the priority list,” added Weaver.

The establishment of the literacy fund is going to be an on-going community effort.

“We would like to establish this as a permanent project in our community,” Weaver said. “It is going to take a commitment from our community to sustain this project, but the outcomes will be tremendous.”

Groups interested in partnering are encouraged to contact Great Start at (906) 786-9300, ext 109.

Initial fundraisers include two local events in July. “An Evening of Wine and Chocolate” will be held in both Delta and Schoolcraft Counties.

On July 26, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Mackinaw Trail Winery in Manistique, guests will be treated to Mackinaw Trail wines, chocolate gourmet desserts, as well as various chocolate surprises! Tickets are available for $20 prior to the event at the Schoolcraft County Chamber of Commerce or by calling Leann Espinoza at (906) 286-3168. Tickets will also be available at the door for $25.

The event is casual, and guests are invited to attend anytime during the scheduled time. There will be various raffles, auction items and prizes at each event, donated by local businesses.

For more information on the Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative or the Great Start Parent Coalition, please call (906) 786-9300 ext 109 or visit www.Great-Start.org.

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