Windham Child Care Association to run Windham County Reads’ Bookmobile program

BRATTLEBORO — Windham County Reads and Windham Child Care Association have announced that, after thorough deliberation by both organizations, WCCA will assume ownership of the county-wide WCR Bookmobile Program in early 2012.

Windham County Reads piloted this library and literacy outreach program in the summer of 1998 and then raised $75,000 for a custom-built bookmobile, which went on the road in June 1999.

For the past 12 years, the Bookmobile has been serving children at child-care homes and centers, families at housing projects and mobile home parks, and senior citizens at senior housing and assisted living facilities.

The program won the S. Whitney Landon Memorial Award for exceptional service to children in the state during its first year on the road, and it has served as a model for other bookmobile programs in Vermont and New England.

Ruth Allard, director of Windham County Reads, said that Bookmobile librarian Doug Frantz and WCR board members are particularly proud of the effect that the program's services have had on children's reading readiness and success.

Allard said that 80 percent of new Kindergarten children with access to the bookmobile begin school with solid reading readiness skills, and 98.6 percent of students in grades 1-3 who use the service maintain or increase their reading skills during the summer months.

For the past several years, Windham County Reads has been exploring options for a program partner, or for a program transition to a local organization with a complementary mission and broader resource base.

During the same time period, Bookmobile stops have increasingly focused on young children at child-care homes and centers, making Windham Child Care Association the ideal choice for new program leadership.

Elizabeth Raposa, executive director of Windham Child Care Association, said the association plans to maintain and gradually expand services to very young children, as well as children in school and their families.

The bookmobile will be stocked with children's books, teacher resource materials, and toys and activities.

Available materials might include monthly thematic materials and activities, including seasonal topics, professional development materials, and multiple copies of the latest early childhood book group book.

In addition to these resources, Raposa said the Bookmobile will provide information about child care policy issues, professional development, networking opportunities, the State Training and Registry System (STARS), and career ladder and college information.

The official program transition will occur on Jan. 1. Public libraries are being notified about outreach opportunities to senior sites that have been served by the Bookmobile.

Area residents with specific questions are encouraged to contact Allard at 802-257-5725 or [email protected] or Raposa at 802-254-5332 or [email protected].

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