Getting by with a little help from my friends- reading to children at the Harris Stowe State University preschool
“When I say to a parent, “read to a child”, I don’t want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate.” – Mem Fox
I just spent the morning on Thursday at Harris Stowe State University in St. Louis. For quite a number of years, Dr. Betty Porter Walls, an associate professor at Harris Stowe, has organized “read ins”, where community volunteers come in and read to the children at the university’s preschool. On Thursday, we did an early celebration of the International Reading Day by having such a read in. Over 20 volunteer readers participated.
Since the preschool population is young, ages 2-5, readers are instructed to do simple book introductions/picture walks. They do not read the entire book, rather they highlight talking about the book, perhaps reading a passage or two from the book. Betty makes it clear the key goal is to get the children interested in literacy. For the university’s preschool children reading really does “sound like chocolate, not medicine!”
I brought along a copy of a book I recently purchased for my own grandchildren. It is Eric Litwin’s newest book called “If You’re Groovy and You Know It, Hug a Friend!” Like all of Eric’s books, it is both educational and engaging. The words of the book are sung to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it”. The children seemed to really enjoy themselves as they listened to a couple of verses and clapped along as I “sang” the book.
Readers at this event usually work in teams, with each team member reading a book. I was fortunate to have Candy Pettiford on my team. She is a children’s author and a former member of the St. Louis Black Author’s Association. She gave a lively rendition of a book she wrote called “Oh the Things You can Do! (When you Don’t Watch TV). Her book also included a song.
Pictured above is the cover of her book and a picture of the two of us together after the read. Pictured below is Julius Anthony, president of the St. Louis Black Authors, myself, Dr. Bill Kerns who often authors things for this blog, and Dr. Betty Porter Walls organizer of this event and many more like it.
Today’s event was a reminder of the importance of reading to children. Doing that is the key to creating lifelong readers. We’re fortunate in St. Louis to have many educators and others who are willing to do that for our area children. All in all, it was a very good day. You can’t go wrong when you share good books with children.
Happy Reading and Writing
Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the book reader
To contact Candy Pettiford about her books, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2018 by Dr Sam Bommarito who is solely responsible for this content.