Donate to ‘Read Early, Read Often’ book drive.

January 20, 2020

Members of Oceana Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council decorate donation bags to be filled with children’s books for the book drive.

Donate to ‘Read Early, Read Often’ book drive.

Oceana County’s fourth annual book drive for Read Early, Read Often just began and will run until Monday, Feb. 17.

Collection bags for books for children ages 0-5 — that are in good condition — are located at the following Oceana County locations:

Shelby – Shelby Public Library, Thomas Read Elementary, Cherry Hill Super Market.

Hart – Spitler Elementary, Hart Middle School, Hart Public Library, Huntington Bank Lobby.

Pentwater – Pentwater Township Library.

Hesperia – Hesperia Public Library and Hesperia High School.

Walkerville – Walkerville Public Schools.

Read Early, Read Often encourages reading to children starting at birth. Babies and toddlers who are read to early and often will have heard as many as thirty million more words than children who aren’t read to before preschool. Further, the number of books in a child’s home has shown to be as impactful on a child’s educational attainment as the education level of her parents.

The Community Foundation for Oceana County’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is heading up the book drive again as one of its community-service projects. The YAC — made up of 41 student representatives from Oceana high schools — guides and provides leadership on the distribution of grants to promising youth-related projects in the county.

“The council provides continuous support to Read Early, Read Often through its coordination of the book drive, tagging and boxing of books, distribution efforts at different community events, and awarding of grant monies,” said Danielle Siegel, foundation program assistant and Read Early Read Often coordinator.

In its fourth year, books continue to fly off the shelf. In 2019, over 6,000 books were distributed by a growing number of program partners. With extra effort to be inclusive of all community members, 20 percent of books distributed were bilingual, up from 17 percent in 2018.

“The program depends on its network of partners to support this initiative, the children in our families, and their futures,” said Siegel. “We are thankful for our partners that distribute books, host events and book drives and provide grant funding to sustain this program for the future. We could not do this alone.”

Read early, Read often — in partnership with Great Start Collaborative — is also kicking off the new year with a series of fun, literacy-focused events throughout the community. The events are called Book Walks. The book “A Snow Day” by Ezra Jack Keats is broken down, a couple pages at a time, into a series of stations. Each station has an accompanied quick activity or little game. Families will rotate through the stations reading the pages and having fun. While some of these stations are self-directed, others will need to be manned by volunteers.

The Book Walks will take place at the following dates and locations:

• Ladder Community Center: Thursday, Jan. 23, 5:30-7 p.m.
• Diman-Wolf Early Childhood Center: Thursday, Jan. 30, 5-6:30 p.m.
• Walkerville Public Schools: Thursday, Feb. 20, 5:30-7 p.m.

These events are free and open to the public. Each family will receive a copy of the book “The Snowy Day” to take home, as well as a do-it-yourself snowglobe kit. Snacks and refreshments are provided, and a full dinner is provided at The Ladder Community Center location.

Read early, Read often is seeking volunteer support to help man stations. To join the effort or ask questions, call 231-869-3377, e-mail Siegel at Danielle@oceanafoundation.org or follow at www.facebook.com/readoceana. If you would like to support this program, donations can be sent to the Community Foundation for Oceana County at P.O. Box 902, Pentwater MI, 49449.

This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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