Jeremy Olson writes about children and families, and is an overscheduled father of two. His blog tackles the best and worst of parenting, families, health and love. He wants to hear from you - what's going on in your house?

Books before baseball at Willmar Stingers game ...

Posted by: Jeremy Olson Updated: June 21, 2013 - 1:11 PM

Players from the Willmar Stingers summer baseball team will read "Flat Stanley at Bat" to hundreds of preschoolers before Saturday's game as part of a campaign to increase literacy and the number of children who enter kindergarten ready to learn.

The 4th annual Books-n-Baseball program is one of the more creative ideas to boost kindergarten readiness in Minnesota. The Stingers, part of the Northwoods League that features collegiate players, provided 600 tickets, which were distributed to families with preschoolers at the local libraries, a preschool and other locations in Willmar.

All children who show up for Saturday's game will receive a copy of the Flat Stanley book, and then join a group featuring one player who will read the book and then another who will show the pictures. After the game, the children will be able to return to the field and run the bases. 

Getting books in the hands of preschoolers and their parents, especially parents living in poverty, has been a major focus in recent years. A top preschool that is part of the Northside Achievement Zone, which is increasing kindergarten readiness in low-income sections of north Minneapolis, sends new books home each week with instructions on how parents should read them and ask their kids questions about them.

But at an early childhood forum in St. Paul this week, experts noted how the need is equally great in rural Minnesota. A Willmar representative noted that 56.4 percent of elementary school students in that district qualified for free and reduced lunch -- a poverty indicator that is tied to kindergarten readiness.

The Willmar Early Childhood Initiative arranges a similar reading event to Books-n-Baseball at the local fire station each fall. The selected books for the firehouse event are related to safety and the books for the Stingers event are generally related to baseball. That is somewhat challenging in the fourth year of the baseball event, because there are only so many books for preschoolers about the game, said Jodi Wambeke, a coordinator of the initiative.

"I think next year," she said, "we'll go back to 'Froggy Plays Baseball.'"

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 5:30 PM
Seattle
Miami 83 FINAL
Boston 75
LA Lakers 80 FINAL
New York 92
Arizona 3 FINAL
Montreal 2
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Nashville 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Miami-Florida 54 FINAL
Florida State 55
Oakland 96 FINAL
Youngstown St 80
Cincinnati 46 FINAL
East Carolina 50
Michigan 66 FINAL
Michigan State 76
Marist 75 FINAL
Canisius 67
Fordham 77 FINAL
Dayton 101
Manhattan 87 FINAL
Monmouth 76
Quinnipiac 100 FINAL
Niagara 105
Utah 67 FINAL
USC 39
Connecticut 68 FINAL
Houston 70
California 90 FINAL
Washington 88
North Dakota St 64 FINAL
Western Ill 62
Penn State 65 FINAL
(22) Rutgers 76
(14) Texas 59 FINAL
TCU 64
Coll of Charleston 49 FINAL
Towson 71
Cornell 53 FINAL
Yale 60
Xavier 68 FINAL
Providence 57
Drexel 61 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 44
Stony Brook 60 FINAL
New Hampshire 52
Maine 52 FINAL
Albany 44
Miami-Florida 66 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
(21) Georgia 72 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 80
Arizona 69 FINAL
Colorado 81
Wake Forest 63 FINAL
(4) Notre Dame 92
Loyola-Chicago 56 FINAL
Illinois State 72
(24) Oklahoma 69 FINAL
West Virginia 78
St Johns 73 FINAL
Seton Hall 78
Delaware 73 FINAL
Hofstra 62
Binghamton 49 FINAL
UMass Lowell 66
Vermont 49 FINAL
Hartford 60
William & Mary 72 FINAL
Northeastern 66
Boston College 60 FINAL
(16) North Carolina 72
Virginia 77 FINAL
Clemson 72
(2) Connecticut 83 FINAL
Temple 49
Arkansas 53 FINAL
Alabama 42
Virginia Tech 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 79
Kansas 58 FINAL
(3) Baylor 66
Canisius 51 FINAL
Rider 52
Monmouth 52 FINAL
Fairfield 54
Quinnipiac 81 FINAL
Saint Peters 50
Butler 55 FINAL
Creighton 62
Wichita State 61 FINAL
Drake 64
Evansville 52 FINAL
Indiana State 67
(18) Miss State 67 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
Villanova 47 FINAL
DePaul 49
Georgetown 73 FINAL
Marquette 80
North Texas 55 FINAL
Rice 58
Auburn 45 FINAL
(12) Texas A&M 78
(11) Arizona State 58 FINAL
Utah 48
Missouri State 56 FINAL
Northern Iowa 64
Michigan 60 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 75
Minnesota 49 FINAL
Northwestern 70
Wisconsin 73 FINAL
Illinois 62
Bradley 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 76
Florida 67 FINAL
Vanderbilt 58
(20) Iowa 88 FINAL
(5) Maryland 93
(1) South Carolina 57 2nd Half 7:37
Ole Miss 45

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT