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Citywide reading program a success
Reading Initiative wraps up
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Bonding over a good book, students and parents from Park Elementary School enjoyed Family Night at the Great Bend Public Library on Nov. 27. - photo by Courtesy of Great Bend USD 428

During the month of November, every Great Bend child in grades K-6 was invited to read one book, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” by Katie DiCamillo. The Great Bend Reading Initiative wrapped up Friday, said Kip Wilson, principal at Jefferson Elementary School.

“Our kids have really enjoyed the book,” said Wilson, who was the coordinator of this year’s reading initiative.

Nearly 1,300 students read the book, according to USD 428 Public Information Director Andrea Bauer.

Children were given a copy to take home and read with their families. Older students also took turns reading to young ones before school. There were daily trivia questions for prizes at the schools, as well as “Books and Breakfast” Saturdays and special family nights for each school at the Great Bend Public Library.

The grand finale was a district-wide Family Reading Night at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center that included book-based activities, an inflatable planetarium show, crafts, and an opportunity to explore newly renovated exhibits. 

“Reading has the power to ignite the imagination, and when paired with family and community engagement, the positive outcomes are infinite,” Bauer said.

“The overall goal for the initiative is to bring families together around literacy at home,” said Wilson. “We want parents to get involved; reading creates quality time and provides an avenue for parents to take an active role in their child’s learning.

“The community partnerships we established this year have opened new doors for students and families,” Wilson added. “Our partners helped connect the themes and characters in the book to engaging activities for our families. Beyond the events, our hosts took advantage of the opportunity to showcase resources and programs they provide year-round. We hope our families will continue to utilize these resources and continue to engage as a family unit.”

In its fourth year, the Great Bend Reading Initiative is an annual program coordinated by USD 428. This program fulfills USD 428’s mission “to educate and prepare all students to become responsible citizens and lifelong learners,” by engaging parents and families outside the classroom. 

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Casey Hatzenbuehler, a third-grade teacher from Riley Elementary School, reads to families at Books n’ Breakfast on Nov. 10. New in 2018, Great Bend Public Library welcomed students and families on Saturday mornings in November for reading, breakfast and family bonding. - photo by photo courtesy of Great Bend USD 428