HOLYOKE, Massachusetts (WGGB) — Some Holyoke school children will soon be doing a lot of reading, all thanks to Link to Libraries. The Sullivan School is benefitting from Link’s newest initiative for all children entering kindergarten in Holyoke Public Schools. They’ll receive welcome to kindergarten read together literacy book bags. Link to Libraries President and co-founder Susan Kaplan says, “We contacted the Davis Foundation, the city of Springfield, the city of Holyoke and asked them would this be relevant to their needs. With budget cuts, we knew it was, but we needed to hear it from those that were the educators and Link to Libraries listen to those around them, those educators in the thick of things.”
Susan Kaplan says Holyoke and Springfield are the best places to start the new initiative. “The book bags are called read together and there’s two bilingual books in the bags and educational parent material supplied by the Irene and George Davis Foundation.”
Link to Libraries pays for the books with the help of some very generous donors. Donors Susan Kaplan says, see the need just like we see the need, that our boys and girls have to be proficient readers by grade four. The book bags are aimed at building a home library and encouraging families to read to their children. Mary Curro is the Director of Early Childhood for Holyoke Public Schools. She says reading at an early age is critical and it starts at home. “Early literacy is crucial. There probably isn’t anything more critical than the development of a young child academically than having the experience where they’re read to at an early age. We’re trying to promote them as reading to children at least twenty minutes a day in whatever language the parent speaks.”
Since its inception in May 2008, Link To Libraries has donated over 45,000 new books to area non-profits and public elementary schools. If you’d like to help or learn more, go to their web site, link to libraries.org.