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Thousand Books Before Kindergarten program now back up and running

◆ Book boxes back in local businesses.

The Lincoln County School District 2 Education Foundation has reopened their 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program in the Star Valley community. Program book boxes were locked down last spring due to coronavirus containment efforts but are now operating at local businesses.

“We have book boxes located throughout our community where families can select a book, take it home to read and then return it to one of our locations,” said Ashley Cranney of the LCSD2 Education Foundation. “Our hope is to help build a strong literacy community by providing accessibility to books, literacy information and family support.”

“This program is designed to promote early literacy skills for children from birth to age five,” said Shelley Hunsaker, LCSD2 District Media Specialist. “The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is a nationwide challenge that encourages parents, grandparents, and caregivers to read regularly with their young children. The goal of this program is to read and enjoy 1000 books with a child before he or she enters kindergarten.”

The LCSD2 Education Foundation brought this program under its wing at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year and are working with businesses and professionals in the community to promote early literacy exposure for children in the Valley. The reading initiative has been made possible through generous donations from business and community members.

“Research indicates that the most reliable predictor of school success is being read to during early childhood,” said Hunsaker. “Reading to children from an early age can help close the vocabulary gap and prepare children to enter kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed. Most importantly, sharing books with children promotes a lifelong love of books and reading.”

As part of the program, each baby born at Star Valley Health receives a new book and an information packet from the Foundation. New parents have the option of joining a support network where members of the group offer various reading tips, book recommendations, and personal support to families.

“We also have an upcoming coloring contest taking place for kiddos zero through 10 years old,” said Cranney. “Thayne and Afton Elementary library’s, as well as grocery stores have been given the coloring contest sheet to hand out.”

Young artists can return their work to Alpine Market in Alpine, Valley Market in Thayne or Broulim’s in Afton by 9 p.m. on Friday, October 2, 2020. The coloring contest winners may have their photos and submissions displayed for the community to view, and with a guardian’s permission, may be recognized during the 1st and 2nd quarters of the SVHS Homecoming football game on Friday, October 9.

Families and individuals can contribute to the program by donating books. Book donation boxes can be found at the entrance of every SVHS home Varsity Football game. The program is also accepting early reading picture book donations.

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