GCL's Emmons brings story time to Mountain Pine Head Start students

MOUNTAIN PINE, Ark. — CSO’s Mountain Pine Head Start and Early Head Start students enjoyed a special story time session brought to them by a guest from the Garland County Library.

Garland County Library Youth Program Coordinator Chanan Emmons read “Toto’s Apple” by Mathieu Lavoie and “A Good Day” by Kevin Henkes to the Head Start class.

“Both are bright and have simple storylines,” Emmons said. “Toto’s Apple is also hilarious.”

When reading to multiple classes, Emmons brings five or six books to rotate between (two per class) to keep her interest fresh.

“For Head Start classes, I look for books with large pages, uncluttered backgrounds, high-contrast colors, an easy-to-follow storyline, and fun language like repetition or rhyme,” she said.

Older students participate by predicting story events, repeating refrains, and reflecting on the story, answering questions afterward.

Emmons also read “Black Bird, Yellow Sun” by Steve Light (featuring bright colors and beautiful language) and revisited “A Good Day” by Kevin Henkes with the Early Head Start class.

She emphasized the benefits of reading aloud for all kids, which she said promotes brain development and language acquisition.

“It’s also a great opportunity for bonding and enjoying each other’s company for parents. My kids are 19, 15, and 10, and we still read aloud to each other.”

She said reading to very young kids teaches pre-reading skills, such as orienting the book, using illustrations to guess the story, and understanding written language sounds.

“Most importantly, kids learn to be excited and curious about books,” Emmons said. “If I read a poem or a silly story and the kids enjoy it, I want them to look at the next book they come across and think, ‘I wonder what’s in that one? Is it going to be fun, too?’”

For more information about the Garland County Library, visit GCLibrary.com

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