KOSCIUSKO — The MutualBank Charitable Foundation awarded $4,500 to Read to Grow Children’s Book Club a program of Kosciusko Literacy Services. Kosciusko Literacy Services is honored to receive the support of the MutualBank Charitable Foundation.
The MutualBank Charitable Foundation was created to establish a permanent source of funding for charitable causes in the markets served by MutualBank. This foundation ensures the heritage of Mutual Bank supporting its communities and improving the quality of life for community members.
Kosciusko Literacy Services’ Read to Grow Children’s Book Club is an ongoing program addressing the lack of basic skills low-income children have when entering the school system. The Read to Grow Children’s Book Club has served Kosciusko County as a United Way partner program since 2006. The Read to Grow Children’s Book Club provides one book a month to each registered, preschool child from Kosciusko County’s poorest families. The enrollment averages 500 children each month. By placing the books in the home, Kosciusko Literacy Services addresses one of the main reasons children have low skills when entering school—the lack of reading material in the home.
The parents agree to read regularly to their child. Reading to children at an early age helps the child’s brain to develop language and reading skills. This program helps the child have the necessary skills to be ready for school and to continue learning. The program is very tangible—the books belong to the child and are in the child’s home. In addition to the child’s brain being stimulated and the books being available on a daily basis, an indirect outcome of this program is that the bond between parent and child is enhanced during the quality interaction of reading stories. Stronger families and improved educational capacity of the child builds stronger and more productive communities.
This program has proven, positive results. Read to Grow Children’s Book Club has helped children from low-income homes enter kindergarten on par with their peers and continue their academic success. The children enter kindergarten with pre-literacy skills necessary to continue learning. The pre-literacy skills are vocabulary, print motivation, phonological awareness, narrative skills, letter knowledge and print awareness. The early development of these skills is necessary for future success in school. Over the past three years, nearly 50 percent of Read to Grow Children’s Book Club graduates made the honor roll in third grade. The support of the MutualBank Charitable Foundation helps to ensure the success of children in Kosciusko County.