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Promoting literacy during the holidays

Posted Date: 12/20/2021

Promoting literacy during the holidays

Community organizations serving in the USD 470 Early Literacy Initiative utilized holiday efforts to help promote literacy in addition to traditional gifts. The Arkansas City Public Library (ACPL), Arkansas City Recreation Commission (ACRC), KanPak GSF Foundation, and USD 470 collaborated to distribute more than 700 books to Ark City children throughout the month of December.

The participating organizations understand the important tie between literacy and long-term health outcomes. Early Literacy Coordinator Lindsay Wilke notes: “It is exciting to have so many organizations focusing on a shared goal.  The research is clear.  Children who are read aloud to for just 15 minutes a day and who have access to books display better cognitive skills and language comprehension by kindergarten. Knowing how to read is crucial for success in our society, and developing that skill starts much earlier than people think.  It’s never too early to start reading and talking aloud to children, as much of the brain’s core structure is developed before a child is three years old.  The goal is a coordinated, consistent message across our community. We want to spread the word that a small investment in literacy can make a big impact in a child’s life.”

ACPL donated 200 books to children at their Santa Saturday Storytime and their USD 470 PreK storytimes. The ACRC donated 100 books at their Santa Saturday event and partnered with Rooted Ministries to donate another 100 in stockings filled with hygiene products to children in need. KanPak’s GSF Foundation handed out 140 books at their Santa’s Kids Event. The USD 470 Early Literacy Initiative stocked both the Ark City Police Department and Four County Mental Health waiting rooms with books that promote social-emotional health.

The team hopes to sustain annual book distributions in the future and is exploring other ways to increase book access in the Ark City community, including a Bookmobile, Little Free Libraries, and Dolly Parton Imagination Library expansion.

To learn more about available literacy resources visit The work of the Early Literacy Initiative is funded by the Kansas Health Foundation. The Kansas Health Foundation is a philanthropy dedicated to improving the health of all Kansans. For more information about the Kansas Health Foundation, visit