Great Start Collaborative receives $17,700

GRANT: At the Tuba Tales event on Thursday at the Big Rapids Eastwood Early Childcare Center, representatives stood with LouAnn Gregory, Great Start coordinator, and presented a $17,000 grant. The money will be used to create book packs for preschool students to take home. Pictured are LouAnn Gregory, Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary-treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation, Eric Gustad, Consumers Energy area manager, Jonathan Sutton, electric field leader and Chasity Eads, Great Start parent liaison. (Pioneer photo/Katlyn Vuillemot)

GRANT: At the Tuba Tales event on Thursday at the Big Rapids Eastwood Early Childcare Center, representatives stood with LouAnn Gregory, Great Start coordinator, and presented a $17,000 grant. The money will be used to create book packs for preschool students to take home. Pictured are LouAnn Gregory, Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary-treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation, Eric Gustad, Consumers Energy area manager, Jonathan Sutton, electric field leader and Chasity Eads, Great Start parent liaison. (Pioneer photo/Katlyn Vuillemot)

BIG RAPIDS — It’s never too early to start reading with children, and with the help of a $17,700 grant, the Mecosta-Osceola Great Start Collaborative will ensure as many kids as possible have that opportunity.

A year ago, when Great Start submitted a request to Consumers Energy for a grant, they didn’t think they would receive the entire amount. But in January 2015, the grant was approved.

“We believe strongly that preschool education is a critical building block for Michigan’s future, and the work Great Start Collaborative does fits well with our interest in promoting early childhood literacy,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary-treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation in a press release.

With the grant, Great Start Collaborative will create a program allowing students in preschool classrooms and local childcare centers to have books to take home.

Teachers and staff will create packs of books for students to take home and return to the classroom once they are done reading.

“By letting the kids take a pack of books home, we are increasing their variety of stories and allowing families to get involved with their reading,” said LouAnn Gregory, Great Start Coordinator.

The packs will have five to six books in a bag, as well as activities inside for the kids to work on with their families.

“It really helps children learn and develop a love of reading when they start early,” Gregory said. “We don’t want the kids to see the packs as homework, but as a fun thing to look forward to.”

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Posted by Katlyn Vuillemot

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