Program Helps Children Explore Books at Home


WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. - Some Pre-K students in Washington County now have the opportunity to explore and read books from school in the comfort of their own home through the Raising a Reader Program.

Each day, teachers at Winter Street Elementary, work to teach their students the fundamentals of reading.

And now through program the students get a chance to learn the basics of reading at home.

"I think its going to be a really good program; free books every week to go home and take a look at is a really good opportunity to get them interested in reading," said Jeremy Smitley, father of student.

The program is funded by the Maryland State Department of Education and allows students to explore four new books each week with their families.

"It helps a lot. I get really excited and into it and all of the smaller words I let him read them to me and sound out some words, so he is definitely progressed a lot this year," said Smitley.

The goal of the program is for Pre-K students to develop and sustain reading habits outside of the classroom.

"It helps your child as a reader and helps them develop a love for reading; and it helps the parents build a routine for reading that helps the child be more successful because they want to read," said Kathy Kerns, of the Judy Center Partnership, that helps coordinates the program at Winter Street Elementary School.

The program will also help students develop skills during a crucial learning period.

"Essentially the years birth to five are very critical years for learning and during that time is a window of opportunity to learn those literacy skills," said Kerns.

By the time these students come through the program in Pre-K, they would have read more than 100 books with their families.

The Raising a Reader Program is a non-profit organization that helps families of children up to 8-years-old. 

The books are funded by a grant from the Maryland State Department of Education for six schools in the county. Last month, more than seven districts in the State of Maryland implemented the program.

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