DANSVILLE — The main focus of Rinker’s Readers is to get young children interested in reading and interacting with books.


Henry and Mudge, The First Book, will be given out to all 80 of the first graders at the Dansville Primary School.


Primary School Librarian Janelle Rinker said that the Family Literacy Event was similar to last year as the focus was on Henry and Mudge.


“We focus on Henry and Mudge, which is about a little boy and his dog. The first grade teachers are here to help with activities that all center around the book,” she said. “We also have Dansville ArtWorks, Dansville Public Library, Rinker’s Readers, Fidelis Health Care, and Livingston County WIC.”


Rinker wants to bring in the second graders next year as part of Rinker’s Readers events.


“It would be nice to bring in the second graders next year, because then they have done it all three times. They started out in Pre-K, to first grade, and then second grade. The students are always so excited to see the teachers outside of the classroom at these events,” she said. “They are all able to do something different outside the classroom with this book they all really love. We always have plenty of activities for them to all enjoy.”


Superintendent Paul Alioto brought his Fox Red Labrador named Sarge to the event this year.


“Sarge is a great dog to read too. He is very well behaved, and really loves being around kids. I am training him myself as a therapy dog, and he has already passed his good citizenship test. Sarge is nine years old, and I have had him since he was a baby,” he said. “When Sarge visits classrooms he puts the kids who are stressed under ease. He has a very calming effect on them. They love them I bring him into the school.”


Alioto has another dog of the same breed named Penny who is seven months old. She is under training as well.


Sarge has already had training with children who need special care, and have wheelchairs or walkers.


Nicole Alioto, Dansville ArtWorks board president, said she came up with a way to compare Mudge and Sarge for an activity with the students.


“I wanted the children to be able to compare and contrast Mudge and Sarge. They can pick an adjective that fits the boy’s dog in the book, and the real dog,” she said. “This is just a neat way to get them to interact with the story. They can connect a real life dog with the one in the story.”


Terry Dearing, Dansville Public Library director, said the library has all the Henry and Mudge books available within the system. There are 42 libraries within the system, so if you are looking for something specific you can find it.


“I think a lot of these kids have been reading for awhile, and may be ahead of the Henry and Mudge books,” she said. “I think they may want chapter books now, so they can use their bookmarks. I think what Janelle Rinker has done with them is marvelous. Anything that makes a child want to read is important to their success and future. If you have a child that may not like to read you need to match their interests, so they can learn to enjoy reading.”


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


“This kind of event adds a lot to the support of family fun activities offered by the school. There is a lot of support from the teachers with events like this,” he said. “We just want to show that support the community, and welcome partnerships that help to support families.”


Dixon said that anytime you get the families involved with the school it is a win for the community.