AMHERST - Neurons grow at a rapid rate in the heads of pre-schoolers and those growing brains are infused with love of reading at the Children and Adults Reading Together (CART) program, which begins its free winter sessions this week at libraries throughout Cumberland County.
"It's an eight-week session for pre-school children and their caregivers," Beth Clinton, who is the chief librarian at the Amherst Library, said.
CART is for kids aged three to five years old and this is the third year that the program has been available in Cumberland County.
"Parents who have attended the program in the past say their children seem to be more prepared for reading when they get to school," Clinton said.
"A lot of the parents also comment on how excited the kids are about reading now and how they want to go to the library to check out books so they have books at home that their parents can read to them," Clinton added.
The eight-week, winter/spring session is held in Amherst, Pugwash, Springhill and Oxford.
Unlike several drop in programs offered at the Library, the CART program is more regimented.
"It's more like swimming lessons where they build on their skills from week to week," Clinton said. "So the parents and kids need to commit to the whole eight weeks."
During the first session an evaluation of the children is done in terms of learning about the pages of a book and knowing how a book works.
Then there is six weeks worth of sessions with games, story's and activities to help the kids with pre-literacy skills like identifying letters.
Then on the last week they do another evaluation to see how well much the kids have learned.
"It also teaches parents and caregivers to help children learn reading skills," Clinton added.
The Winter/spring session will be held in Amherst, Oxford, Springhill and Pugwash.
There are two sessions per week at the Amherst Library. They are Thursday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sessions in Pugwash are held Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Sessions in Springhill are held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Sessions in Oxford are held Saturday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
For more information call your local library or call 667-2135.
The CART program is supported by a grant from the Family Literacy Endowment Foundation and Julie Allison Savage runs the program.