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New program for young readers is launched on Molokai

Literacy program provides books to kids 4 and younger

First lady Dawn Amano-Ige (left) helps launch the ‘Ohana Readers program on Molokai last month. Office of the Governor photo

Reading with family spells success for young ones, according to educators and leaders.

That’s why state and nonprofit groups teamed up launched a free, new program on Molokai that gives kids 4 and younger more opportunities to read with loved ones.

“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,” Rep. Lynn DeCoite said in a news release. “I am so happy that we are able to bring ‘Ohana Readers to Molokai so our community can showcase this program to the rest of the state.”

Called ‘Ohana Readers, the literacy program began last month and offers high-quality, age-appropriate Imagination Library books to Molokai children ages 4 and younger.

Kids who register for the free program will receive one book each month via the U.S. Postal Service about eight to 10 weeks after their registration form has been submitted.

The state Public Library System is encouraging Molokai families to register for the ‘Ohana Readers program. Also, the Molokai Public Library will offer programs that complement books children receive, along with other activities to promote literacy and reading.

The program was launched from a collaboration among the Office of the Governor, the state Department of Human Services, the Hawaii State Public Library System and DeCoite, along with nonprofits The Dollywood Foundation, Friends of the Library, Learning to Grow and Read to Me International.

Led by first lady Dawn Amano-Ige, ‘Ohana Readers pilot program launched Oct. 19 for Molokai. She said she hopes to expand the program throughout the state.

“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 4,” Amano-Ige said. “‘Ohana 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.”

State Librarian Stacey Aldrich said a love for reading instilled at a young age will pay off throughout a child’s life.

“This program encourages the youngest members of our community to develop a love of reading that will be important throughout their entire lives,” she said.

The Molokai program is funded through Windward Community College’s Learning to Grow project in partnership with the state Department of Human Services through money from the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant, a news release said.

For information about the ‘Ohana Readers program, contact Caroline Adolpho, Molokai administrator, at (808) 567-9050 or caroline.adolpho@hawaii.edu.