Kansans reads to preschoolers during week-long celebration


“Will you join me for a wiggle?” Doreen Cronin asked a room full of preschoolers in the Manhattan Public Library.

This week, all across Kansas, preschoolers have been joining children’s book author Cronin for a wiggle in celebration of the Fifth Annual Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week, sponsored by The Kansas Center for the Book at the State Library of Kansas.

This year’s theme was fitness, and Cronin’s book, “Wiggle,” was selected as the statewide book for reading.

On Wednesday, Cronin read to preschoolers at the Manhattan Public Library. At her 10:30 a.m. reading, about 200 children, ages 2-5 years old, and close to 100 adults gathered to listen to Cronin read “Wiggle.”

“We have had a great, great week so far,” Cronin said. “Preschools are very fun because they are very distinct pre, pre readers … they have so much great energy.”

Following the morning reading, each child in attendance received a free copy of the book, “Wiggle,” which Cronin personally autographed.

Later that afternoon, she gave a final reading in the library via enhanced library meeting rooms.

According to a press release put out by the library, the enhanced library meeting rooms use life-size teleconferencing technology.

Mary Shrink, public relations coordinator for Manhattan Public Library, said Cronin read to children in seven different towns across Kansas, thanks to the meeting rooms.

Roy Bird, Director for Kansas Center for the Book, said this was the first year meeting rooms have been used for Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week.

He said they predict to reach nearly 50,000 children. This number has skyrocketed compared to the 2008 projection of 22,000.

“Our fifth year has been our biggest and best year so far, hands down,” Bird said, following Cronin’s reading at the library.

“I think ELMR is great,” Cronin said. “I’ve only done one event like that before and it was a virtual author event. It was something similar and it was broadcast to schools … It was so much fun and it’s amazing to me to be able to reach that many kids at once.”

Bird also said Cronin is not the only influential person reading to kids this week. Others include State Treasurer Dennis McKinney, who read Cronin’s “Bounce” on Wednesday at the Cappers Foundation in Topeka.

Also, First Kansas Lady Stacy Parkinson read the statewide selection “Wiggle” to kids at the Forever Friends Intergenerational Day Care in Aldersgate Village, also in Topeka.