In an effort to improve local literacy rates and inspire children to read, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) teamed with Scholastic Book Fairs to build a Reading Oasis room in four communities.
The Reading Oasis rooms will be a community gathering place filled with 1,200 books provided by Scholastic,kid-friendly furniture, and a listening station and library. The following organizations and sites were chosen: Austin Public Schools at Mower County Public Health; Sunrisers Kiwanis Club of Rochester at Harriet Bishop Elementary School, Rochester; Northfield Early Childhood Initiative at Northfield Community Resource Center Atrium; and Red Wing Noontime Kiwanis Foundation at Sunnyside Elementary School, Red Wing.
"SMIF is excited to receive books from Scholastic Book Fairs and work with these organizations to create a reading room and provide children from birth to age eight, with more access to books," said Tim Penny, SMIF's President/CEO. "It is important that children develop their reading skills at an early age and that reading becomes a part of their daily lives. SMIF is committed to supporting programs and projects that encourage literacy and development."
As part of its strategy to invest in economic growth here in southern Minnesota, SMIF has supported early childhood efforts to make certain all children enter school fully encouraged, prepared, and supported for learning success. SMIF has invested on average $1.6 million annually for early childhood development initiatives.