DANSVILLE — Rinker’s Readers included the first graders in their family literacy night event.

 

Dansville Primary School Librarian Janelle Rinker said the first graders received a free book from the Dansville Rotary Club “Henry and Mudge” over winter break.

 

On March 1 the first graders and their families were invited to a night of fun at the Dansville Primary School.

 

“Henry and Mudge is about a boy and his best friend,” Rinker said. “His best friend is a dog. They go on adventures together. This is the first book in the series. It is a great book about the importance of friendship.”

 

The first grade teachers all came together to partner with Rinker’s Readers, Dansville Public Library, and Livingston County WIC to come up with activities around the theme of the book.

 

Rinker started the Rinker’s Readers program a year ago to help kids have access to books whose families couldn’t afford it.

 

“I wanted to build family connections, and embrace reading with all of the kids,” she said. “I wanted to foster the love of reading in the community.”

 

Rinker recently became the school librarian, and this brought out her passion for getting the whole school involved.

 

Dansville Primary First Grade Teacher Chuck Malone said it is great for the students to see their teachers, and be

part of a fun event.

 

“We planned our own activities around the story for the event,” he said. “They are thrilled to have a book of their own. I hope they read the rest of the series.”

 

Rinker’s Readers Volunteer Liz Jackson said they go to Dansville Genesee Community College once a month to give bundles of books to children.

 

“We hand out a bundle of four or five books to the children from birth to school aged,” she said. “It is amazing to see them get so excited over having their own books.”

 

Dansville Central Superintendent Paul Alioto said anything to promote literacy and family involvement is a win for the children.

 

“I am very grateful that so many volunteered their time to be here,” he said. “This is about bringing families together and making it fun to read. It will help them in school.”

 

Every grade level has a goal when it comes to reading.

Dansville Primary Principal Dan Dixon said these events are going through the school like wildfire.

 

“We started with the Pre-K kids and now are extending to first grade,” he said. “This progress is getting students excited about reading early on. Rinker’s Readers is a non-for-profit organization that was spearheaded by Janelle.”

 

Dixon said the second graders will have a similar event.

 

“It is fantastic to see kids get excited about reading,” he said. “It is great that is part of Dr. Seuss Day.”

 

There were several high school volunteers who remembered having Rinker as their tenth grade teacher.

 

“It is a great thing for these kids to be able to socialize like this outside of school,” Dansville Central Senior Kaitlyn Monroe said. “We never had anything like this when we were their age. There are so many opportunities now.”

 

Dansville Central Junior Emily Pierpont agreed with Monroe about the Rinker’s Readers success.

 

“Mrs. Rinker was my teacher, and she reached out to us to help with the event,” she said. “She has the best ideas for these kids. These kids get more chances to socialize than we did.”

 

Pierpont said that the students in high school normally only mingle with their own grade, and here these students can mingle with everyone.

 

Dansville Central Junior Abigail Adams babysits Rinker’s daughter.

 

“I am volunteering because Mrs. Rinker was my favorite teacher,” she said. “I have known her for years. My older sister had her before I did. She is stationed in Nebraska now.”

 

Rinker said the Dansville Primary School is doing this Love to Read program.

 

“For National Love to Read Month we have faculty and staff holding their favorite childhood book on posters outside of the classrooms,” she said. “We are going to do a lot of different things this month. We are planning something with Noyes Hospital to help with cancer comfort bags.”

 

Rinker said she was pleased with the turnout despite the storm heading our way.

 

“We had a huge show and it was great to see kids and families come out to enjoy the love of reading,” she said. “I loved seeing their smiles and laughs over one book. I hope they all continue the story.”

On April 25 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Rinker’s Readers Family Literacy Night for Pre-K will be in the Dansville Primary Cafeteria. It will focus around Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.