Teen Passionate for Reading Starts Early Literacy Project
By MJ Vieweg, Staff Writer
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Ley was raised a reader. When she entered kindergarten knowing how to read chapter books and finding out that many of her classmates did not, Rachel came to realize that her mother’s habit of reading to her early and often was the difference.
“My mother read at least ten children’s books a day with me from the time I was born until I reached kindergarten,” Rachel said.
By the time Rachel reached 6th grade, she witnessed the challenges many of her classmates had with reading. Her service project, Literacy for Little Ones, aims to help parents start early reading habits with their children. Since 2009, Literacy for Little Ones has send nearly 550 book packages home with families of the babies born at nine hospitals in Wisconsin (including a hospital in Nicaragua located in a sister city of one of the Wisconsin towns).The book packages include a new baby book, a letter that explains the importance of early literacy and tips on reading to newborns.
“Since the program was first established in April of 2009, approximately 10,500 babies have gone home from the hospital with a Literacy for Little Ones book package,” said Rachel. “This summer I met one of the first recipients of the program. Her mother told me that the book she received in her book package is still her daughter’s favorite book today.”
With a $100 grant from StartASnowball.com, book packages were provided for 80 families. The grant sustained the program at one hospital for two months.
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