Walworth County Bookworms hook early interest in reading
SHARON Studies have shown time and again how reading directly affects a student’s success. There has been a successful resurgence in young adult interest in reading. It is at the earliest stages, though, that boys and girls need to get a leg up with reading skills.
This is where Wisconsin Bookworms came on the scene 15 years ago, the result of a partnership between Wisconsin Association for Home and Community Education and Head Start.
Sharon resident Emma Peterson read to her own children for years, something she credits as her inspiration for being a volunteer reader to 3- to 5-year-olds today.
“I read to my own children a lot, and with Bookworms, sometimes I read to the same kids for several years,” she said.
Peterson didn’t start out reading right away. She was too busy in her role as Wisconsin book chairwoman for three years. She was recognized by WAHCE for her efforts in 2009 with Achieving Excellence Community Partner award.
Wisconsin Bookworms in Walworth County serves five Head Start programs from Delavan to Darien and everywhere in-between. WAHCE raises funds through grant writing (Peterson has written several), corporate partners and private donations. Target and Alliant Energy have been great supporters, Peterson said.
At the local level, volunteers visit area Head Start classrooms, reading books and helping with class activities that tie into the books.
Peterson said she’s lost track of how many classrooms and students with whom she’s volunteered, but she’s likely read to about 300 children.