New reading area at Janesville Boys & Girls Club encourages literacy

JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV)-- As a Boys & Girls Club of Janesville employee cut a "ribbon" made out of kids' drawings Tuesday afternoon, declaring the new reading area open, the kids assembled cheered. They quickly then started exploring the reading area, and reading the new books that are part of it.

Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin and volunteers from Johnson Financial Group, who spent the day setting the area up, the 70+ kids who visit the Boys & Girls Club after school each day can now read under reading tents, in flashlight reading areas, or even to new stuffed animals.

Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Sara Stinski said, Reading is probably the most important skill that we can pass on to our younger kids. Having a place that makes it fun, and gets them excited for it--it's just really important."

Stinski added, "Literacy is going to be one of our big, major initiatives." This new reading area is part of that. According to a news release, the club is working with the School District of Janesville to, "focus on improving reading achievement among elementary-aged youth, especially on closing the achievement gap among low-income youth and youth of color."

The club will use the new reading area, "as a first step toward the new Literacy Initiative, providing a 'home' for literacy efforts at the Club, creating excitement for kids who already spend 30 minutes each day on academic achievement during the Club's mandatory 'Power Hour' program."

Stinski said it was fun to see the excitement among the elementary school-aged kids when they saw the reading area for the first time.
"For us, this is a huge addition to the club, and the kids were so excited when they came in today. We're super excited about it. The kids have seen nothing but a big pile of boxes in that corner over there for the last two weeks and they had no idea what the theme was going to be."