Which local Head Start in Arkansas can read the most books? The Reading is Electric Read-A-Thon aims to find out. Starting in January 2016, the Arkansas Head Start State Collaboration Office (AHSSCO) is holding its third competition to see which Head Start can read the most books to the 10,000 children enrolled in the program around the state. Anyone can participate – from parents and grandparents to college students and community leaders. This year, Head Start will make a special effort to engage fathers and grandfathers as readers.
As part of the challenge, and to promote the importance of reading, AHSSCO has developed a children’s book, Reading is Electric. In the story, a character named Buzz teaches children that reading is fun. Buzz helps children and parents realize all the opportunities that they have during the day to read.
AHSSCO also partners with the Junior League to host an event called Little Readers Rock at the Hilary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library. The event features storytellers and book characters and emphasizes the importance of reading and having books at home. Each child attending the event can select five books to take home with them, building their home libraries.
Books-A-Million stores in Fort Smith, Hot Springs, and North Little Rock also provide books for Head Start’s annual book drive. Books-A-Million has book drive displays where patrons can purchase age-appropriate books for Head Start children. The books received as part of the book drive are distributed statewide and are to be taken home over the summer to target summer reading loss.
Parents, grandparents, family members, caregivers, businesses and other partners can make a tremendous difference in helping children build their reading skills. The Reading is Electric Read-A-Thon shows a fun way to engage the community around early literacy, and the winner of the competition will be recognized in March.