Reading month: Students help with children's development through reading
“March is Reading Month so this is our way of getting kids excited about reading,” said Maria Rodriguez, programming coordinator for the Eastern Michigan University chapter of Association for the Education of Young Children.
In celebration of Reading Month the AEYC is putting on their first reading event on Thursday, March 15. The event will be held at the Children’s Institute at 1055 Cornell Street from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Student volunteers will read in fifteen minute sessions to groups of children up to the age of five with Swoop as a special guest.
“Swoop gives the kids something to look forward to and why shouldn’t reading be something kids look forward to?”
Rodriguez spoke for all AEYC- EMU members when she said she believes reading is a fundamental part of life.
According to Rodriguez, “It’s important to care about reading. It’s a basis for everything we do. Children who are read to will gain a larger vocabulary base which will later help them with language development and reading skills. If we can get kids interested young, it’s going to open a lot of doors later.”
In addition to that, Rodriguez acknowledged that reading makes fond memories.
“Kids remember that parent or teacher that read to them or the time they first learned to read,” said Rodriguez.
Not only is it beneficial for the children being read to, but for the student volunteers as well. Volunteers are getting experience to help them develop professionally in their field, and they’re getting to share their passion for reading with the kids.
“You get to see a child fall in love with reading,” said Rodriguez, which is rewarding in itself.
Kids spend time with Eastern Michigan’s education majors who may serve as role models for the youngsters.
“The Children’s Institute is a place for kids to interact and grow. It’s important that they know that there are people out there to help them learn. There are other people who love to read, and those are the people they should look up to,” said Rodriguez.
“The volunteers are young and passionate about the education of young children. They have to be enthusiastic about reading. If a teacher is enthusiastic, the kids will be, too.”
Stacks of books have been hand-selected from the shelves of the Ypsilanti Public Library with childhood favorites such as “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”
“If you give them a variety of material, you’ll be able to appeal to all the children’s interests,” Rodriguez said.
To keep them captivated, volunteers do more than just read to their classes. AEYC-EMU members do their fair share of performance when delivering the story to a young audience.
“As teachers we shouldn’t be afraid to get into character when we’re reading. There are so many things you can do when you have an imagination,” said Rodriguez.
Readers utilize voice inflection, facial expressions and actions from the story to keep their listeners engaged.
Interacting with students is rewarding, even when it means being silly.
According to Rodriguez, “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher because I was one of those kids that had a hard time in school but had a teacher who really made a difference, who made me feel competent and helped me get through it.
I struggled with reading but my teacher really made the books come to life and I want to give that experience to children.”Originally Published: 03/11/12 7:53pm