Spring is in the air, and local children are invited to celebrate with a special early literacy program hosted by Forsyth County Public Library (FCPL), Georgia Highlands Medical Services (GHMS), Literacy Forsyth, and Forsyth County Schools.
Leap into Literacy will be held in the cafeteria of Cumming Elementary, 540 Dahlonega Street, Cumming, on Wednesday, March 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission to the event is free and, while the program is designed for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, children of all ages are welcome to attend with a caregiver.
Children can also meet the beloved book character Curious George at the event. Leap into Literacy participants can also enjoy a spaghetti dinner from Giorgio’s Family Kitchen and a sweet dessert treat from Publix.
The purpose of the event is to help families understand the importance of encouraging early literacy skills starting in infancy.
“One of the most important aspects of early literacy is the amount parents talk to their children, beginning in infancy,” says Tracy Walker, Programming and Outreach Manager at FCPL.
“Parents who simply talk to their child as they go about their day expose them to 1,000-2,000 words an hour. This is so important in helping them become better readers and learners down the road.”
Several simple early literacy practices will be demonstrated for caregivers during the program to show how easy it can be to incorporate reading and language learning into everyday activities at home.
“Simple, everyday activities and tasks can become great early literacy tools,” says Julie Boyd, Youth Services Supervisor at the Cumming Library.
“Naming and talking about the items you see on a trip to the grocery store or while preparing dinner are wonderful ways to build your child’s vocabulary. Spring is the perfect time of year for outdoor walks and activities. From the naming of flowers to the colors of birds, these are terrific times to explore language, as well,” explains Boyd.
“Movement activities that involve language help children learn new words. Simple finger plays and songs help children develop their fine and gross motor skills while learning new vocabulary at the same time. This is especially important for our kinesthetic learners - children who learn best through physical activity,” adds Walker.
It’s the perfect time of year to be active outdoors. Combining simple movement activities with language is just one of the early literacy tips that event organizers will share with parents and caregivers during Leap into Literacy.
“We all have different learning styles,” says Amy Chang, Title I Director of Forsyth County Schools. “Adding simple movements or facial expressions to the stories we tell at home or daily activities provide invaluable context clues when learning vocabulary.”
Following the stories, songs, and puppet show, participants can make special crafts to take home as they wait to meet Curious George and receive a special sweet treat from Publix.
“Cumming Elementary is looking forward to hosting Leap into Literacy for our youngest county residents, their families, and for the whole community. Spring is a time of celebration, and we look forward to welcoming everyone,” says Chang.
For more information about Leap into Literacy or other similar programs, please visit www.forsythpl.org.