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Wisconsin Bookworms program marks a milestone

Twelve years and 500,000 books later, Wisconsin Bookworms is still bringing the joy of reading to young children in Hudson and around the state.

Since its start in 1998, the child literacy partnership has given out half a million free books to nearly 52,000 preschool children who might otherwise not have been able to afford books of their own.

Wisconsin Bookworms works through a partnership of the Wisconsin Association for Home and Community Education (WAHCE), Cooperative Extension Family Living Programs and Wisconsin Public Television with the goal of encouraging literacy, introducing children to the joy of reading and promoting reading in the home

In 2009, 45 counties participated in Wisconsin Bookworms. In St. Croix County, Bookworms serves 69 children and two volunteer readers dedicate time to share their love of reading with preschoolers. In addition, St. Croix County's WAHCE organization raises funds to purchase the books each child receives, according to Dorothy Hughes (Grandma Dorothy) who reads each month in the Early Childhood/Head Start classrooms of Vicki Aulert and Kristin Ericson at River Crest Elementary School. Hughes has read for the past nine years in the Hudson School District. Eunice Hop of Baldwin reads at the New Richmond Public School.

Books handed out the week of May 3-7 in the nearly 400 participating classrooms around the state included a special sticker commemorating the 500,000-book milestone.