CANNONSBURG: Boyd County preschoolers trotted through Boyd County High School on Thursday with tote bags half their size, filled with free books and activities.
Their new goodies were all thanks to the First Book program that benefited the group of 220 children who left with six books total. The program started in the county in 2004 and has since distributed more than 100,000 books, according to First Book advisory board chairman Bill Burch.
The program benefits six agencies total and helps to introduce a passion for reading, especially for needy children who do not have books available to them at home.
“I was an elementary principal for about 15 years so I know how important it is for reading and love of reading and to try to instill this into children at this age,” said Burch.
Burch said the board raises about $10,000 a year and supplies around 5,000 to 6,000 books a year to about 700 kids.
On Thursday, the morning started out with a short skit of “Three Billy Goats Gruff” performed by the pre-school teachers. The students then broke out into small sessions where one-by-one they collected their books and participated in activities associated with them that they were also able to take home.
Education Specialist Jill McGlone, who spearheaded the event, chose the books herself that the children received. She said she tried to choose a selection that incorporated a wide variety of topics from the alphabet to counting.
By having a whole morning dedicated to their new books, McGlone said the children are able to become more interested in what they’re being given.
Brenda Dudding, a pre-school teacher who participated in the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” skit, explained that the book was chosen for the performance so the children could also become associated with older stories. She also bragged on the program overall, saying it is well received by the parents due to the diversity in the books.
“A lot of children don’t have access to books, a wide variety of books, so this way they’re actually able to see the higher level of literature,” she said.
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