Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

May 17, 2011

Peru expands free-book program for kids

Peru — Until Whitney Anderson’s two children reach the fourth grade, she won’t have to purchase another book for them to read.

In addition, without visiting the library, she will be able to read a new book to them each month.

Through its Teammates In Growing Exceptional Readers (TIGERS) program, the Peru Community Schools recently began a literacy initiative in which Peru students from first through third grade will receive a free book each month.

“My kids love it when I read to them,” said Anderson, 31, who was recently visiting the Peru Public Library. “I think I love it more. Reading opens up new worlds for them and me.”

The Peru program — funded by about $75,000 from Title 1 grant money — is in addition to the county’s Imagination Library and the Miami County Books Offer Our Kids Success (BOOKS) program. Both of these programs offer free books to children.

All the programs are funded through grants and private donations.

The Imagination Library is a national program funded by the Dolly Parton Foundation and is managed by Dukes Memorial Hospital. Unlike TIGERS — which is for Peru students — the Imagination Library is for students in the county’s three school districts: Peru, North Miami Community Schools and the Maconaquah Schools Corp.

Since 2009, every child born at Dukes receives a free book each month until the child reaches the age of 5.

“I am thrilled about our program and what Peru is adding,” said Courtney Ogletree, Dukes’ director of marketing. “[The programs] are a benefit to families and to the communities. This is another wonderful benefit of living here.”

During the school year, Peru reading specialist Kim Martino said the BOOKS program offers a free book to every kindergartner in the county. For Peru’s students, the newly implemented TIGERS program will begin at the conclusion of a kindergartner’s school year.

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