Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne is all smiles about books, visits Avon Elementary for One Book 4 Colorado campaign | VailDaily.com

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne is all smiles about books, visits Avon Elementary for One Book 4 Colorado campaign

AVON — Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne smiled at a kindergarten class Wednesday morning, Sept. 26, and they all smiled back.

That Avon Elementary School classroom is a long way from Lynne's former post as Kaiser Permanente executive vice president in charge of five states — with a $8 billion budget, 1.4 million members and 16,000 employees.

"Why do you think I'm smiling?" she asked, laughing.

One Book 4 Colorado

Lynne, who is coming to the close of her stint in the statehouse, was reading "Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown," this year's One Book 4 Colorado selection. One Book 4 Colorado, started in 2012, gives away more than 75,000 copies of the same book to each 4-year-old in the state in English and Spanish.

The privately funded program is a collaboration between Lynne, the Colorado Office of Early Literacy, Colorado State Library and public and military libraries.

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"This is important because literacy is so fundamental to us, first of all addressing equity issues in Colorado and ultimately providing a skilled and educated workforce. The more we can do to encourage literacy and model it, the better off we're going to be as a state growing our own workforce," Lynne said.

The premise behind One Book 4 Colorado is simple: 4-year-olds who have access to books and adults who read to them are more likely to be ready to read when they start kindergarten. Lynne pointed to research that shows children in low-income families tend to have fewer books in their homes and are exposed to 30 million fewer words before age 4 than their higher-income peers.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.