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Periodic posts from Shawn Turner, WKAR general manager

Celebrating National Reading Month - with books!

WKAR Family Reading Kits with gear, books, learning materials, and more.

Dear friend of WKAR,

A core element of the vision of WKAR is to be the most trusted and reliable source of educational content that enriches the community we serve. Joining the National Reading Month celebration each March is among the many ways that we can turn that vision to reality. 

As a kid growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, my two favorite distractions were my local public media station and the Cincinnati Public Library. I fell in love with reading while spending hours sitting among the endless rows of books lining each floor. Reading opened my mind to new ideals and sparked curiosity that inspired me to explore the world beyond my community.

In 2021, WKAR launched the WKAR Family Reading Kit project as part of the National Reading Month celebration for mid-Michigan. Each kit includes new books, early childhood education resources, and hands-on literacy activities. In the first year of the project, nearly 2,000 kits were shared with families. The next year, more than 5,000. And in 2023, more than 9,000 kits – totaling more than 18,000 books – were shared across mid-Michigan.

It became clear that the need was great in our community. As we looked ahead to this year, our education and development teams took steps to help ensure that WKAR Family Reading Kits could reach even more families in March of 2024. Our teams developed new partner connections, reached out to grow financial support, and enlisted volunteers eager to donate their time to make a difference for their community.

As we are now midway through March for 2024, I'm happy to share the news that the WKAR Family Reading Kit project is proving to be a great success once again. As of this week, more than 10,000 kits – totaling more than 20,000 books – are being delivered to agencies across mid-Michigan for distribution to families in 40 mid-Michigan counties.

The project's success has been made possible through a commitment of time and resources by 120 community partners, over 130 volunteers, and over 400 individual and corporate donors.

Seeing projects like this reach so many families means a great deal to me and to my colleagues here at WKAR. Thank you to all who have helped make a difference during National Reading Month. We are proving that when we work together as a community, there is no end to the positive impact we can have on quality of life in mid-Michigan.


signature: Shawn Turner

Shawn Turner
WKAR General Manager

Michigan State University

P.S.: You might be interested in these WKAR original documentaries: Building the Reading Brain (from 2023); and Right to Read (from 2021).

Shawn Turner is general manager at WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University.
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