Mrs. Claus To Visit Early Literacy Storytime At Medical Center

Mrs. Claus To Visit Early Literacy Storytime At Medical Center

Local children are invited to celebrate the holidays with a special early literacy program hosted by Forsyth County Public Library (FCPL), Georgia Highlands Medical Services (GHMS), Literacy Forsyth, and Forsyth County Schools.

‘Tis the Season for Stories will be held in the Training Room at Highlands Medical Plaza, 475 Tribble Gap Road, Cumming, on Tuesday, December 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The program will include stories and songs in English and Spanish, as well as a puppet show and crafts. Children can also meet Mrs. Claus and receive free children’s books. Admission is free and, while the program is designed for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, children of all ages are welcome to attend with a caregiver.

The purpose of the event is to help families understand the importance of encouraging early literacy skills starting in infancy.

“We feel strongly that literacy skills are an important part of a child’s cognitive development and our physicians tell parents that it’s never too early to start reading to their children,” says Yolanda Nabors, Chief Operations Officer of GHMS.

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.

“For example, families love to tell stories and share their memories around the holidays,” says Julie Boyd, Youth Services Supervisor at FCPL’s Cumming Library.

“Including young children in these walks down memory lane not only helps them learn about the family’s culture and traditions, it also expands their vocabulary and helps them learn the give-and-take of participating in a conversation,” explains Boyd.

Repetition also helps young children learn new words, adds Pamela Burlingame Miller, Executive Director of Literacy Forsyth.

“Holiday songs are full of repetitive phrases – and the songs themselves are repeated on the radio, on television, and in stores – so children can use all that repetition to practice coordinating their lips, tongue, and teeth to pronounce new words,” says Miller.

Speaking frequently to a young child about their activities and surroundings, or including them in family conversations, are among the early literacy tips that event organizers will share with parents and caregivers during ‘Tis the Season for Stories.

“When we tell traditional stories or sing traditional songs at the holidays, we’re often using words that aren’t as common in our speech at other times of the year,” says Amy Chang, Title I Director of Forsyth County Schools.

“Learning these less common words increases a child’s vocabulary, and that becomes a predictor of reading readiness and success for children as they enter elementary school.”

Following the stories, songs, and puppet show, participants can make reindeer crafts to take home as they wait to meet Mrs. Claus and receive a holiday treat bag of children’s books from Barnes & Noble at The Collection at Forsyth.

“The staff at Georgia Highlands Medical Services is looking forward to hosting ‘Tis the Season for Stories for our youngest patients, their families, and for the whole community. We wish everyone a very joyful holiday season!” add Nabors.

More information about ‘Tis the Season for Stories is available at www.forsythpl.org.