AMHERST – Children and their caregivers, parents and grandparents are invited to the Four Father’s library next Thursday for the Children and Adults Reading Together program. The program, for children three to five-years-old, helps children fall in love with reading, learn some of the alphabet and even get used to homework for when they start school.
“It’s getting them ready for school, recognizing their letters, helping them start writing their names and socializing with other kids,” said Chantelle Taylor, the youth service librarian at the Four Father’s Memorial Library in Amherst. “They learn to sit and wait their turn (to speak) and raise your hand, so it gets them used to that before going into school.”
The program is only an hour and a half long, just long enough to get the children ready for a classroom setting.
“It’s an eight week program. It’s just like swimming lessons, you have to come every week because (the new lesson) builds onto last week’s,” said Taylor.
Each child is given an evaluation form to see where their abilities are when they enter the program. At the end of the eight weeks, they have another evaluation form to see just how much they have improved.
“It’s not to compare them to the other children,” said Julie Allison-Savage, preschool outreach services clerk. “It compares where they started to where they finished. Kids that couldn’t make a letter ‘a’ at the beginning of the program are printing their name at the end of the eight weeks. Some of the children who didn’t know what the letter ‘a’ was are actually recognizing words like ‘dog’ and ‘cat’ and things like that.”
The children who register for the program will participate in different games, learn songs and do some reading with their parents or guardians. All the activities in the program are geared towards teaching the children the alphabet, their letters and spell simple words like their name.
“They get homework,” said Allison-Savage. “They get alphabet worksheets that they take home with them and it’s pretty much for them to be able to do something while their older siblings are doing homework so they can feel like the big kids.”
In past years of the program, Taylor said they have seen many children greatly improve their scores by the end.
“What you get (at the end), is a child who started out with maybe a score of 20 and finishing with an 80 or a 90.”
Everything the children will be learning, all the games and songs, can be recreated at home so the parents and guardians can be involved with the learning process and see that it can be fun.
“We want to enhance the literacy environment in the home,” said Allison-Savage. “We want the parents to say, ‘I can do this with my son or daughter’, or when they’re driving to the grocery store, they can sing one of the songs.”
The program begins next Thursday, Oct. 11, at libraries in Parrsboro, Amherst, Springhill and Advocate from 6 until 7:30 p.m. To register your child in the Amherst area, call 667-2549.