Raising young readers | AspenTimes.com

Raising young readers

Bliss Pekkala, a participant in the Raising a Reader program, checks out her first book with her new library card while Mya Lewis waits her turn.

More than 20 Early Learning Center preschoolers recently received their Raising a Reader blue library bags and library cards from Pitkin County Library children’s librarian Susan Keenan.

The Raising A Reader program is a pre-literacy early childhood take-home book bag program focused on children younger than 5 years old. The program encourages parents to read more frequently to their children to build early brain development and a love of books. Children benefit by developing pre-reading skills that lead to kindergarten readiness. They also start on a path of lifelong learning, and the interaction encourages family bonding and support.

The program was launched in October 2004 with 352 participating children from Aspen to Rifle. It is adding 375 more children this fall and will now include Parachute, Silt and New Castle. The program is offered in preschools, Head Start, Early Head Start, Even Start and child-care centers.