Kualapuʻu, Hawaiʻi – Hawai‘i’s first lady Dawn Amano-Ige, together with state and non-profit partners, has launched the ʻOhana Readers program on Molokaʻi. ʻOhana Readers is a literacy program that focuses on reading with family.
The program will offer high-quality, age-appropriate Imagination Library books each month to children on Moloka‘i who are four years old and younger. Children who register for the program will receive one book each month via the U.S. Postal Service beginning approximately eight to ten weeks after their registration form has been submitted. The program operates through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and is free of charge.
The program is made possible through a collaborative partnership between the Office of the Governor, the State Department of Human Services (DHS), the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System, Rep. Lynn DeCoite, and nonprofit partners The Dollywood Foundation, Friends of the Library, Learning to Grow and Read to Me International.
The Hawai‘i State Public Library System is encouraging families to register for the ‘Ohana Readers program. The Moloka‘i Public Library will also offer programs that complement the books the children receive, and will provide other activities to promote literacy and reading.
“Research shows that children are ready to learn in their earliest years, and this program provides no-cost opportunities for learning from birth through age four. ʻOhana Readers encourages family read-aloud time, an activity that increases the vocabulary and language skills of our children and contributes to their growing knowledge of the world,” said Amano-Ige.
“This program encourages the youngest members of our community to develop a love of reading that will be important throughout their entire lives. The Hawai‘i State Public Library System is very excited to partner with the ʻOhana Readers program by being a place for families to sign up their little ones for story times at the Molokai Public Library to complement the books being mailed out,” said State Librarian Stacey Aldrich.
“It truly takes an ‘ohana for children to thrive. This collaboration is aligned with our foundational vision; that the people of Hawai‘i are thriving. We know that early literacy builds a strong foundation for life-long learning. Family bonding and the ability to explore new worlds and ideas through literature is something all families should be afforded. DHS is proud to be a partner in this community driven effort,” said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot.
“Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i is pleased to be part of a program that helps build a life-long love of reading at home with family,” said Nainoa Mau, executive director of Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i.
“Reading with our keiki is one of the best things we can do with them, and it’s something the whole family can be a part of. I am so happy that we are able to bring ‘Ohana Readers to Moloka‘i so our community can showcase this program to the rest of the state,” said Rep. Lynn DeCoite.
Amano-Ige said Molokaʻi serves as the pilot program for ʻOhana Readers and she hopes to further expand this program to other communities throughout the state.
The Molokaʻi program is funded through Windward Community College’s Learning to Grow (LTG) project in partnership with the Hawai‘i State Department of Human Services through monies from the Federal Child Care and Development Block Grant.
For more information about the ʻOhana Readers program contact Caroline Adolpho, Moloka‘i administrator at (808) 567-9050 during office hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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