Preschoolers get free books

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The state’s “One Book 4 Colorado” program came to Englewood May 8 as the library and school worked collaborated for a program for 4-year-olds, including giving each of the children a book.

Englewood Early Childhood Education Center hosted the May 8 program at the Maddox building. Deb Parker, library executive assistant, said the state provided about 500 copies of this year’s book “Duck on a Bike” for distribution to community 4-year-olds. About 30 percent of the copies are in Spanish.

The May 8 literacy event included a display of artworks by students at the center and a performance by Merry Andrew Afoote, who told stories, played the flute and did magic tricks. When the performance was over, the children lined up and library representatives handed out about 250 books. The remaining books will be given away at the library during story times.

“This is a wonderful program,” Englewood resident Sandi Turner said. “I am a single mom and my 4-year-old and we set aside about 30 minutes a night to read together. His sister is almost 3 and now she is joining it. We are wearing out our books and the new book will be welcomed by the reader and the listeners.”

The program was born last year when the office of Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia collaborated with agencies including the Colorado State Library as well as receiving support from a number of organizations and individuals to distribute about 70,000 books to 4-year-olds. It is expected at least that many books will be distributed this year.

“I think this is a very important program,” said Dorothy Hargrove, Englewood library director. “Providing a free book encourages reading to children because reading to children is easy and really good way to help a child improve reading skills.”

She said while the free books will be available at the library, it also is a plus that books were distributed at the special May 8 celebration because it may have provided books to children and families who might not come by the library.