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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Reading is Fundamental

Friday, November 22, 2002

When Florrie Binford Kichler was 8 years old and confined to bed for months with a serious illness, reading was the only activity allowed her.

She developed a love for a series of children's biographies called "Childhood of Famous Americans". Forty years later, she founded her own company, Patria Press, Inc., to restore to print many of those same books that introduced her to the joy of reading so many years ago.

"To me, these books are a chronicle of the best of America's past. Recreating this series for the children who are the best of America's future is the fulfillment of a childhood dream," Kichler said.

The publisher of "The Young Patriots" series of books was at Meridian Elementary School to participate in the Reading is Fundamental program. During her presentation, she shared with students the process of how a book is born and all the steps a book must undergo before it arrives on the library shelves.

The Reading is Fundamental program is the nation's oldest and largest children's literacy organization with the purpose of promoting the love of reading by providing books to children. All students selected a free book to add to their personal libraries and also received a bookmark and bookplate.

Since its beginning nine years ago, Meridian students have received over 8,000 books to keep at home. Funding comes from a grant from the National Reading is Fundamental program and the Meridian Parent-Teacher Organization. East Side Elementary is also participating in this program.

Kirchler currently has in print in the series "Amelia Earhart, Young Air Pioneer", "William Henry Harrison, Young Tippecanoe", "Lew Wallace, Boy Writer" which is the story of the childhood of the author of "Ben-Hur", "Juliette Low, Girl Scout Founder" and "James Whitcomb Riley, Young Poet". Coming in 2003 is "Eddie Rickenbacker, Boy Pilot and Racer" and Mahalia Jackson, Gospel Singer and Civil Rights Champion".

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