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Book Drive to Support Read early, Read often

In its second year, children’s books collected or purchased for the Read early, Read often initiative have been flying off the shelf. Since September, nearly 2000 books have been distributed to area families with over 10% of those bilingual. With new partners all over Oceana County including food pantries, nonprofits, health and child care centers, the program is growing every day.  Partners support and emphasize the program’s mission, ensuring every family with young children has books in the home. “The program depends on our partners to support this initiative, and consequently area children and their success.” says Danielle Siegel, current Program Coordinator.  “Support also includes the donation of books to sustain this program into the future. Last year over 500 books were donated!”

Community members are encouraged to participate in the second annual book drive starting Thursday, January 18th and ending Monday, February 21st. Collection boxes for books that are in good condition and meant for children ages 0-5 are located at the following locations:

Hart – Hart Area Public Library, Hart High School, First Baptist Church, Hansen Foods
Hesperia – Hesperia Public Library, Hesperia High School, Ed’s Grocery
New Era – Oceana Veterinary Clinic, 1st Street Market
– Pentwater Township Library, Pentwater Public School, Shelby State Bank
Shelby – Cherry Hill, Shelby Public Library, Shelby State Bank, The Ladder Community Center
Rothbury – Rothbury Hardware Store
Walkerville – Lake-Osceola State Bank, Walkerville Public Library

Read Early, Read Often, fosters reading to children starting at birth. Reading early and often teaches children to listen and focus, introduces new words, builds imagination and celebrates our world, improves school readiness and future success in school and life. The first five years are the most formative in the brain development of a child. Babies and toddlers who are read to often will have heard as many as thirty million more words, than children who aren’t read to before preschool. The number of books in a child’s home has shown to be as impactful on a child’s future educational attainment as the education level of her parents. Even with as few as 20 books in the home.

The Community Foundation for Oceana County’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is heading up the book drive as one of their community service projects. The YAC, made up of 47 student representatives from all Oceana’s high schools, guide & provide 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” stated Siegel.

If you would like to support this program, donations can be sent to the Community Foundation for Oceana County at P.O. Box 367, Shelby, MI 49455.  For any questions or additional comments please call 231-861-8335 or check out the program web page or follow on face book.