What could be more delightful than seeing energetic young children bubbling with enthusiasm for exploring nature and reading?

iREAD Outside is a weekly LandPaths series for young children and families, combining the wonders of being outside, visiting local parks and preserves throughout the County, with the joy of reading.  Funded through Community Foundation Sonoma County’s iREAD grants program, these outings demonstrate and support reading tools for parents and caregivers, while also creating positive associations with reading—it can be fun!

Recently, members of the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild and the Pointless Sisters delivered 25 handmade quilts inspired by children’s literature and the outdoors, to Bayer Farm to kick off LandPaths’ iREAD Outside summer program.

These lovingly stitched quilts tie the experience together, providing a beautiful and cozy place to enjoy a book together. In the end every single quilt will be given away to families participating in the iREAD Outside program, along with hundreds of books donated to LandPaths through their Nature Book Drive.

Significant research shows that reading aloud to children from day one is the single most important thing a parent can do to help a child enter kindergarten ready to succeed. In Sonoma County, however, only 57% of parents read to their children every day.  By getting families outside, mixing reading with hiking, nature games and picnics, this program helps to eliminate some the obstacles parents may feel – whether real or perceived – in engaging their children in reading.

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