Education

Dirigo Reads benefits Teague Park students

CARIBOU and BANGOR, Maine — First-graders at Teague Park Elementary School had some reading adventures in the past year as one of six pilot schools involved in the Dirigo Reads program, which distributed 3,301 books to approximately 330 first-grade students.

Program cofounders Dan and Karen Cashman of Brewer recently released the 2019 Dirigo Reads annual report, highlighting the success of the program’s first year.

Dirigo Reads began July 1, 2019, with the goal of putting a book in the hands of every Maine first-grader each month during the school year by 2025. In September, the Cashmans launched the program in six Maine schools:  Caribou’s Teague Park, along with The Adams School in Castine, Brewer Community School, Madison Elementary, Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School in Machias and SeDoMoCha in Dover-Foxcroft.

The annual report features photos and quotes representing each pilot school.  

“What a great program,” said Teague Park first-grade teacher Tim Collins in the report. “Students look forward to the monthly gift of books. They were caught reading them regularly.”

The Cashmans announced in February that they plan to add approximately 20 additional schools for the 2020-2021 academic school year. A finalized list of participating schools will be available in August.

“It takes mutual trust to start a program, and we want to sincerely thank the six schools who opened their doors to us,” the Cashmans said in a letter that begins the annual report. “Not only did these schools warmly welcome us but they have been fabulous collaborators, especially when the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic hit and students had to be sent home mid-year. These schools rallied to devise a plan to ensure none of their first graders went a month during the academic year without receiving a new Dirigo Reads book.”

Dirigo Reads is also supported by several financial partners, including businesses and community organizations.

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