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4-H encourages reading and learning
michelle beran
Michelle Beran

This week kicks off one of my favorite partnerships with USD 428. Great Bend Reads was new to me last year and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to present to the students of all five grade schools as they read a book as families and as a school community. 

The librarians and staff coordinate a multitude of activities and incentives for the students to participate over several weeks as they read the book. 

This year’s book, “Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows” by Asia Citro is a fun book about how scientists work while expanding imaginations. As someone who grew up loving books and libraries, this is right up my alley. By the way, did you know that 4-H also has a Reading Project? 

For my part of the students’ lessons, I will be sharing 4-H curriculum about the Pet Project and the Veterinary Science Project! It will give us a chance to talk about problem-solving and creative solutions. 

While I look forward to working with the grade school students, I am very excited about some volunteers. I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Junior and Senior students in Jennifer Hopkins’ Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program at Great Bend High School over the last few weeks. We jumped into a Community Vitality curriculum which focused on leadership and communication skills. When I shared about GBReads with the class, several students asked if they could help out. We have worked on ages and stages of youth development as well as program planning and facilitation skills.

Having the opportunity to work with and watch both groups learn and develop is what I love about my job. Will it go perfectly? Nope! Will we learn as many things as presenters as the grade school students? Absolutely! 

If you know a Great Bend grade school student, be sure to ask them about Zoey and Sassafras. Better yet, grab their book and read with them! 

Keep learning. Keep showing grace and kindness.

Michelle Beran is the 4-H and Youth Development Agent for the Cottonwood District, Barton County office. For more information on this article or other 4-H Youth and Development related questions email Michelle at or call 620-793-1910.