Leap into Literacy, a local early learning initiative organized by the Forsyth County Public Library (FCPL) and Forsyth County Schools (FCS), begins a new season of early learning and parent education programs this month.
Leap into Literacy with Elephant & Piggie will be held in the Cafeteria at Cumming Elementary School, 540 Dahlonega Street, on Tuesday, October 22. A simple meal will be served and the program will begin at 5:30 p.m. Admission to the event is free.
“This is the third season of Leap into Literacy and we’re grateful for the support of our title sponsor, Women United for Forsyth County United Way, in helping us to provide a quality learning experience for local families,” says FCPL Programming Manager Tracy Walker
The purpose of Leap into Literacy is to teach parents and caregivers which skills are most important for success in kindergarten and then help them find fun, free, and easy ways to practice those skills with their children at home. “Results from local GKIDS assessments of kindergarten readiness show that children entering kindergarten need help building early literacy skills, such as differentiating sounds in spoken language,” says FCS Title I Director Amy Chang. “The good news for parents and caregivers is that attending a Leap into Literacy program gives them the tools to incorporate these skills into their daily interactions with their children,” adds Chang.
Leap into Literacy with Elephant & Piggie will include a simple meal, a storytime program and puppet show, as well as a visit from beloved book characters Gerald and Piggie from the bestselling Elephant & Piggie series of early reader books by Mo Willems.
Following the Leap into Literacy storytime, the audience will break into smaller groups of families for training in five simple early literacy practices: talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing.
Parents who engage in those five activities with their kids in a purposeful way – such as asking open-ended questions, slowing down the speed of their speech, and allowing kids to draw or scribble – can help their children build the early literacy and learning skills they need for success in kindergarten.
“While Leap into Literacy with Elephant & Piggie will certainly be entertaining, parents will notice that the stories and activities are designed to help kids practice literacy skills, such as counting, identifying letters, and learning to write their names, as well as social skills, such as listening to instructions and working cooperatively with others,” says Walker.
Walker, Chang, and a team of librarians, educators, translators, and volunteers will lead parent education activities during the event to demonstrate how to practice the skills learned at Leap into Literacy at home. Participating families will receive a free early literacy activity kit, as well as a free book, to take home.
Take Home Book
The excitement on each child’s face as they learn to write their name or as they meet characters from the book read during the event is an indicator that Leap into Literacy is having the desired effect, says Chang.
“Reading a book and then meeting one of the characters in person is a great way to help a child find joy and excitement in reading. We hope that excitement follows the family home so they will read their book together and use the activity kit to keep practicing the skills they learned,” explains Chang.
Organizers have committed to giving each family a book to keep, as well as creating early literacy activity kits, at each of the four programs planned this season, but those materials are costly. “We are grateful for the support of organizations like Women United for Forsyth County United Way and the FCPL Friends & Advocates, and we welcome additional support from others in the community who have a passion for helping kids become lifelong learners,” says Walker
Sponsorship opportunities are available for December’s Leap into Literacy with Cookie Mouse event. Opportunities to donate or volunteer are also available for the second half of the season when Leap into Literacy expands to serve families near Chestatee Elementary School in March 2020. Any individual or business interested in supporting Leap into Literacy should contact Tracy Walker at 678-513-9364.