COSHOCTON – Ten students in Lisa Green’s preschool class at the South Lawn campus of the Coshocton County Head Start program had a special guest on Thursday.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine read Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to the class. She asked the children questions as she read and made them count with the pictures in the classic picture book. Each student received a copy of the book to take home.
“I love this book because it’s so colorful and all the kids love it,” DeWine said. “I find a lot of them know the story. It’s also fun, because they know what’s coming up and get excited.
DeWine made similar stops at the Head Start and Child Care Center in Fredericktown and the Mt. Gilead Public Library. The tour was set to celebrate the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, reaching 300,000 children enrolled from birth to age 5 statewide, or 43% of the state’s population for the group. age.
The program is free for all children in the state. They receive an age-appropriate book each month by post. The first receipt is “The Little Engine that Could” and the last is “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come”.
As of December 1, 301,457 children were participating in the program, in partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Coshocton County had 1,088 enrolled children, or 47% of the eligible population. This places it in the top 32% of Ohio counties as a percentage of the population.
The local affiliate partner who helps register children and distribute books is the United Way of Coshocton County.
DeWine said about 80% of a child’s brain is developed by age 3, and studies related to kindergarten readiness scores have shown that program participants have higher scores than those who don’t. were not receiving the books.
“It’s a great way for our families to spend time reading and bonding together. It is not your mother and father who will read you, but brothers, sisters, everyone, ”she said.
DeWine said she learned about the program while babysitting her grandchildren one day when books arrived in the mail.
“It was instantly a ‘read me’ moment. They ripped off the plastic and wanted me to read it, ”DeWine said. “I was like ‘this is such a wonderful thing, wouldn’t it be great if every kid in Ohio could have this opportunity to get these books in the mail and read them.'”
Susan Craddock, executive director of Coshocton County Head Start, said they are trying to get all of their students enrolled in the Imagination Library. About 60% to 70% are currently enrolled, she said.
“A lot of times our parents don’t have transportation, they can’t get to the library, so it just gives them time to bond. Plus language and literacy are so important at this age and kids use their imaginations, ”Craddock said of the program.
One can register at ohioimaginationlibrary.org or at their local library.
This article originally appeared on Coshocton Tribune: Fran DeWine promotes the Ohio Imagination Library at Coshocton