As an educator by training and librarian for many years, the First Lady has a passion for reading. She is promoting two efforts that are designed to ensure that children have access to books at an early age and keep reading as they get older.
The Reach Out and Read program, administered by the Department of Social Services, provides age-appropriate books to children from birth to five during well baby checkups. The books are often a child's first exposure to reading. The First Lady has visited clinics across South Dakota to promote this important program.
Beginning in April, 2011 the First Lady began visiting 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms across the state to keep children interested in reading. She reads to each class and encourages them to continue reading during their free time and in the summer.
"Third, fourth, and fifth grade is around the time that many students lose interest in reading," Mrs. Daugaard said. "It is important to spread enthusiasm about reading at this crucial point in a child's development." While visiting schools, Mrs. Daugaard collects gently used chapter books and passes them along to the next school she visits.
As of November, 2012, the First Lady had visited over 200 schools across the state of South Dakota and read to approximately 19,400 children.
What students are saying
For more information about the Reach Out and Read Program, click here