Niobrara County News

Successful Wyoming reading initiative kicks off

LUSK, Wyo. – Raising Readers in Wyoming is a new program that will help Niobrara County parents prepare their young children for reading while, at the same time, promoting well-child visits.

Raising Readers in Wyoming will mark its arrival in Niobrara County with a special event on Oct. 13, at 10 a.m., in the Niobrara County Public Library, located at 425 S Main in Lusk. The public is invited to attend the event, which will feature local celebrities, children and parents.

Raising Readers in Wyoming encourages parents to read to their young children by providing beautiful new books as part of their well child health care visits. The goals of the program are to improve child health, increase the number of times a parent reads to their children per week, and support families as they prepare their children to enter kindergarten. Raising Readers in Wyoming is patterned after a successful program initiated in Maine.

Raising Readers in Wyoming is made possible in Niobrara County through a $300,000, three-year grant from the PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning, the philanthropic affiliate of Pacific Power. The Foundation is working to improve early childhood literacy rates in communities served by Pacific Power and Utah Power. This is the second year of the program, which aspires to expand to every Wyoming County and reach 4,900 children. Last year, it was introduced in Uinta, Sweetwater, Carbon and Campbell counties.

The program supports Wyoming’s vision that “all children will have opportunities for developmental success.” It was introduced through Wyoming Early Childhood Development Council and the Wyoming Department of Family Services. Wyoming Child Development Services administers the program. Local volunteers have been instrumental to the implementation of Raising Readers by helping promote the program, assist in book distribution, assisting at kick off events and conducting reading workshops.

The PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning, founded by PacifiCorp to help communities served by Pacific Power and Utah Power, is in the third of a three-year, $1 million investment in early childhood literacy. The PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning is one of the largest utility endowments in the U.S., valued at $37.4 million. It has awarded 6,192 grants totaling more than $36.8 million to communities served by PacifiCorp.