MAPS Head Start/Early Childhood Director Beth Tepper and teacher Joni Hahn introduced the Lincoln County Reading Buddies mascot, Buddy the dog, to the students during an assembly held in the school’s outdoor play area last Wednesday. The event was the kick off of the 13th year for the program, which provides age appropriate books to county youngsters in order to give them a jumpstart on becoming good readers.
As Hahn sang a song she wrote about Buddy and reading, Tepper went around the circle of children with Buddy, a lifelike hand puppet dog wearing a blue Merrill High School mortar cap.
This year, 1,680 books will be provided free of charge to over 200 students at MAPS and Tomahawk Head Starts and Parkside Preschool in Merrill through the Reading Buddies program. Each of these preschool students will receive a set of eight books for their home libraries. Over 55 community volunteers will read and deliver the books to the children during monthly visits from October through May of 2011.
Lincoln County Home and Community Education Association sponsors the book and mentoring program, which started in 1998 as a way to promote a love of reading and literacy. Books given at the MAPS Head Start and Parkside Preschool are funded by local civic groups, organizations, businesses and individuals from the Merrill Community. The Tomahawk Star Foundation funds the books for the Tomahawk Head Start.
For information on how to contribute to the Merrill Reading Buddies or to become a volunteer reader/mentor, contact Sue Johnson at 715-536-2756.