Building Better Reading Skills in Summit County

Bright Star Books and Akron Children’s Reach Out and Read program benefit young readers

Summit Education Initiative (SEI) is happy to partner with two Summit County organizations that provide new and gently used children’s books to kids who need more age-appropriate reading materials in their home.

Bright Star Books and Akron Children’s Hospital’s Reach Out and Read program believe providing young children with their very own books helps develop a love for reading and learning at an early age. Read more about their organizations below.

Bright Star Books

The mission of Bright Star Books, which Keith and Christin Seher founded in 2014, is to “promote a culture of reading by increasing access to and ownership of books for limited-resource children in the Greater Akron region.” Bright Star Books logoSimilar to the early childhood interventions SEI supports in Summit County schools, Bright Star Books aims to put books in the hands of children at the earliest possible age to “ensure children grow up habituated to the potential of books as sources of learning and joy.”

“We think letting children choose the books makes all the difference in ensuring they pick books that they will read, re-read and love,” says Bright Star Books Executive Director Keith Seher, explaining the concept behind his organization’s book fairs. Bright Star Books hosts several book fairs at different elementary schools in Summit County throughout each year. Students who attend may select free books to take with them and keep at home.

Mason CLC book fair

SEI staff volunteer with Bright Star Books at a book fair they held at Mason CLC in May 2017.

“Many of our students do not have the means to go to a bookstore and purchase books, so this was truly a delight for them,” says first grade teacher Beth Wyszynski, whose students attended a Bright Star Books Book Fair in May. “Two of my first graders showed me their book selections afterward and said they picked out a special book, not for themselves, but for their sibling, too. Talk about paying it forward.”

Bright Star Books will celebrate its new storage facility on Home Avenue in Akron during an Open House on Friday, Dec. 1. The Sehers and other volunteers will lead visitors on a tour of the facility and share with them how the space will help the organization expand their giving capabilities.

For more information about Bright Star Books and about how you can get involved, visit www.brightstarbooks.org.

Akron Children’s Hospital’s Reach Out and Read Program

Reach Out and Read®Akron Children's Hospital logo, endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a national program dedicated to fostering the development of early literacy skills among children as a standard part of pediatric primary care. 

Akron Children’s Reach Out and Read program is available in their 23 Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics offices throughout northeast Ohio and at Akron’s Locust Pediatric Care Group. Through this program, parents receive information about the importance of reading aloud to their children during well-child visits from six months to five years. Children also receive a new, developmentally appropriate book to take home during the well-child visits.

“Families who benefit from the program read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed, with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills,” says Reach Out and Read Program Coordinators Sarah Mitcheff, Heidi Kline and Meghan Christy in a thank you letter to the 2017 School Readiness Summit planning committee. (Thanks to Summit attendees, Akron Children’s Reach Out and Read program received more than 500 book donations to benefit families they serve in northeast Ohio.)

Volunteer and book drive information is available at Akron Children’s Reach Out and Read webpage located at this link.