Record Number of Children to Participate in Read to Me First Book Program's picture

A record number of Idaho children from birth to kindergarten will be
participating in the 2011-2012 Read to Me First Book program. Approximately 3,100
children will receive a book each month during the upcoming school year,
provided by Read to Me and distributed by 32 Idaho libraries. This is an
increase of over 500 children from the previous year.

“We were able to fund every application in whole or in part, and we are
thrilled that so many children will be reached with this program,” Idaho
Commission for Libraries (ICFL) Project Coordinator Staci Shaw said. The Read
to Me program has sponsored First Books since 1997 and received state funding
along with Library Services and Technology Act funds to reach more children
starting in 2008. The program has been thoroughly evaluated by Boise State
University Literacy Professor Dr. Roger Stewart. His research shows that
parents read more to their children and actively engage their children in other
early literacy activities as a result of participating in the program.

Along with the selected book the children receive each month, a parent
newsletter provides information on activities that expand the book sharing time
and includes rhymes, music and fun activities for each age group: Birth to 2;
Preschool; and Kindergarten.

The 32 libraries participating this year are partnering with local Head
Start agencies, daycares, developmental preschool programs, and schools to reach
children ages birth to six who are unlikely to have many books in their homes
or have a library card. “The program provides a great set of nine books for
each child to keep at home, and we encourage participating libraries to help
families acquire library cards,” Shaw said. “We know that the availability of
reading material in the home, whether owned or borrowed from the library, is
directly associated with children’s achievement in reading comprehension.” (see Read to Me First Book
for more statistics

To see a list of all the participating libraries and learn more about the
program, visit Read to Me
First Book