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Tue, Sept. 17

Preschoolers earn library cards, books through reading program

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>Discovery Gardens 5-year-old teacher Judy Ely hands Jackson Waara, 5, a book bag at the Prescott Public Library during the Raising a Reader program by First Things First Thursday afternoon in Prescott.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>Discovery Gardens 5-year-old teacher Judy Ely hands Jackson Waara, 5, a book bag at the Prescott Public Library during the Raising a Reader program by First Things First Thursday afternoon in Prescott.

Judy Ely's afternoon class of 5 year olds from Discovery Gardens Early Childhood Center clapped and cheered for each other Thursday as they received their library cards at the Prescott Public Library, and a bag with books inside from Yavapai College's Raising a Reader program.

The early literacy program partners with preschools, childcare centers, and home-based childcare to encourage families to read to children and was funded by a grant from the Yavapai Regional Partnership Council of First Things First.

"This program is meant to be a bridge between their parents reading with them at home and them going to the public library to pick out books they're interested in," said Martha Baden, the lead librarian for youth services, who read to the children when they arrived at the library.

Each week for the past quarter, students in Ely's classes have taken home a bag with books inside that their parents read to them at home, and when they return the books to school the next week they receive four new books.

"I liked the book about the sheep on the pirate ship," said Brian Brantner, a student in Ely's class.

Sage Cormier, another student, said she liked "getting books to read, especially a princess book."

"The kids have worked real hard on this and they're very excited to earn their book bags and library cards," Ely said. "They have been talking about books so much more since we started this program."

Kira Turner said her son Dominic Butler, who is in Ely's class, has always loved to be read to.

"After listening to one book for a few days, he could read the first five pages of the book back to me," Turner said.

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