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Jacqui Davison is the Director of Hillsboro CARES (Community Advocates for Reading Enrichment and Success), the mother of three busy, book-loving boys, and a dairy farmer based in Hillsboro, Wisonsin. Hillsboro CARES is an organization working to encourage reading in all places by all ages, and having it supported and promoted by the entire community.
What fuels your passion?
If you are passionate about sharing the love of reading, that passion is fueled every time you see a child’s face light up when they pick up a book.
What makes “Restaurant Readers” so innovative?
“Restaurant Readers” bring reading to a place where children are sitting down with an adult, waiting for their meal. Sure, they are sitting together — but, the real magic happens when you watch a child pick out their favorite book and bring it back for the parent or loved one to read… and the phone gets put away to devote time to reading with the child. In the year and a half since placing the durable, laminated books in area restaurants, this sight never gets old. Even my 3-year-old nephew has his favorite “fire truck” book when we go out to eat breakfast.
Describe some of the benefits of “Restaurant Readers.”
Watching a child so engrossed in a book that they don’t notice their food arriving, or get snuggled up next to a parent sounding out a new word, or smile when they discover that there are new books on the shelf just for them, or kneel on their chair from across the table to get a better look at the pictures as a parent reads aloud — these are the heart-warming moments “Restaurant Readers” provide.
By placing these books in 10 area restaurants, we are adding to families’ experience eating out. Now time that was previously spent scolding children not to touch this, or don’t play with that, has been replaced with the positive experience of sharing a book together in an unlikely place.
How has the project exceeded your expectations?
Our local population of 1,300 has grown to love the books everywhere, and many out of town guests with children are surprised to find books coming to the table as they order their meals. Seasonal books are placed to celebrate fall, Christmas, football, or basketball, and other special times. The best surprise, however, has been that I was asked not to change out certain ones — because those were little customer’s favorites!
To learn more about Hillsboro CARES’ programs, Jacqui can be contacted with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.