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Literacy push
Community supports reading

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably read a book or two. Perhaps you’ve read the top stories in today’s newspaper or read about how your team is faring (Go Chiefs!). Speaking of newspapers, George Burns famously said, “I get up every morning and read the obituary column. If my name’s not there, I eat breakfast.”
There used to be a bumper sticker: “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” That is so true; and yet, if you can read this, there are probably many people to thank.

At this moment, there are at least three literacy programs going on in Great Bend:
• Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – Parents of preschoolers can visit the Great Bend Public Library to sign up. Children who live in the 67530 zip code can get a free book sent to them in the mail every month from the time of their birth until their fifth birthday. United Way of Central Kansas has supported this program in Hoisington, Ellinwood, Larned, and now Great Bend.
• The Great Bend Reading Initiative - Next week, children in grades K-6 will receive copies of “The Lemonade War” to take home and read with their parents.
• Newspapers in Education (NIE) - Just as other programs help children become familiar with books, this one introduces them to newspapers, which helps them learn about the community. Newspapers are provided to area schools so teachers can use them in their daily lessons. Teachers have used the paper to create activities to help students prepare for real-world experiences, such as looking for a job, renting an apartment or buying a car.

Each of these programs depends on community support, and this community has shown it does support literacy. Maybe we should call ourselves “The Community that Reads.”