By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. —
The new Reading Buddies program starting up in Lapel is all about “creating a spark” of love for reading in young children.
Rosilyn Upton, a member of the South Madison Community Foundation, helped develop the program after she’d heard mothers express interest and discussed getting something started with Lapel Library’s Branch Supervisor Cassaundra Day.
Anderson Public Library’s Lapel Branch currently has a monthly family program, but no weekly program as does Anderson. But Lapel’s Reading Buddies will be a weekly effort.
“It’s not a tutor program, it’s a start,” Upton said. “To get children more interesting in reading and develop a love for reading.”
Registration begins Sept. 26 for children at the library and Upton already has about 10 volunteers, ranging in age from high school students to a 90 year-old.
Lapel High School senior Jessie Taber said she’s looking forward to working with youth.
“I’ve always enjoyed reading, especially as a child,” she said. “I thought it’d be cool to get kids interested.”
She said reading is important to growth and development in that a person needs to be able to read to write and function daily.
She’s performed volunteer work before, with the town’s food pantry and Lapel Community Youth Commission. She’s glad to see Lapel’s program implemented.
Volunteers like Taber will read to children in grades one through four once a week for an hour at the library.
Upton is working in partnership with the Madison County Literacy Coalition and said the organization will be donating books so that children can go home with a new one to keep each week.
The goal, she said, is to get kids reading at home.
While Reading Buddies is held at the library, it’s not actually a library program. Upton wanted to do something similar to what Day does in Anderson at Park Place Community Center, where she and other volunteers rent a classroom and have a reading cafe. Day is a member of the county’s Literacy Coalition.
“The focus is to get kids reading and discover the process,” she said. “To see reading isn’t awful.”
While the Park Place Reading Buddies is Day’s baby, she’s still excited about the programs in both places.
Registration for Lapel’s Reading Buddies is limited to students in Lapel schools and volunteers will be trained by Day.
To volunteer or for more information about the program, call Upton at 534-4161 or Day at the library, 534-4654.
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