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GREAT BEND READS 'Charlotte's Web'
Students get to know Wilbur, the kind little pig
Earlier this week, second-grade students at Park Elementary got a sneak peek at “Charlotte’s Web,” the book selected for the 2022 Great Bend Reading Initiative scheduled to launch on Jan. 4. The program aims to engage students, families, and the community in the classic tale and positive message. - photo by photo courtesy of Great Bend USD 428

At the start of the New Year, Great Bend elementary students will welcome Wilbur the pig and a crew of barnyard friends into their classrooms and homes as they read the book “Charlotte’s Web” during the 2022 Great Bend Reading Initiative.

The Great Bend Reading Initiative – GB Reads for short – first launched in 2015 with the goal of promoting student literacy skills through school and family engagement.

“GB Reads is a shared experience for children and parents in our school communities,” said Tricia Reiser, USD 428’s director of teaching and learning.

“Research shows that there is a positive connection between family involvement, literacy skills, and success in school. GB Reads is a fun and engaging way to use a well-loved children’s book to boost literacy skills, foster an enjoyment for reading, and strengthen parent-child relationships,” said Reiser.

GB Reads will launch on Jan. 4, 2022, with all USD 428 elementary students in grades K-6 receiving a copy of “Charlotte’s Web.”

“Our committee decided to select the classic story ‘Charlotte’s Web’ because of the central themes of friendship, kindness, and perseverance,” said Holly Tittel, USD 428 librarian. “Our students, families, and community have persevered through a challenging few years and shown kindness through it all. We feel the GB Reads program will help our families to reconnect with a good book and a positive message.”

GB Reads is sponsored by USD 428 and presented in partnership with the Great Bend Public Library. This year, over 1,300 students will receive a copy of the book along with a calendar providing a schedule for reading the book and information on supporting activities and events.

New in 2022, the Great Bend business community is invited to patriciate in GB Reads by becoming a “Blue Ribbon Businesses” and joining a community scavenger hunt. Outside of the school day, families will embark on a tour of town to find Wilber and his farm friends in storefront windows during the month-long program. Families that complete the scavenger hunt will have a chance to win numerous prize packages.

For more information about GB Reads, or to become a Blue Ribbon Business, contact the USD 428 District Education Center, 620-793-1500, or visit the website