Reading, weather awareness promoted

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lynleigh Romero, 2, and Shelby Wood, 4, color a picture of Clifford during “Reach Out and Read” Wednesday morning.

Written by Kelsey Vickers, intern with The Messenger

About 35 children, ages three to 11, participated in Charles Henderson Child Health Center’s third summer of the nationwide program “Reach Out and Read” Wednesday morning.

The program, founded in 1989 at the Boston Medical Center, is a non-profit organization that promotes literacy for children. It builds on the relationship between medical providers and parents to help develop early reading skills in children.

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Rosemary Hanson, coordinator of the event in Troy, said every year the program focuses on a particular book for the event.

“This year’s book is ‘Clifford and the Big Storm,’” she shared. “Every year we set a day aside, give out copies of the books, and have activities for the children to participate in.”

Due to the bad weather Troy has experienced lately, Hanson said their focus was also on weather preparedness.

“We had Monica Tassoni from WSFA to come in, and she did a PowerPoint presentation for the children on weather,” she said. “We don’t want to scare the children, but to help them be prepared.”

The children participated in a number of activities including Twister, watching a movie, coloring pictures of Clifford, and playing “Pin the tail on Clifford.”

“We’ve also given out a box of goodies to each child with things you might need in a storm, snacks, and coloring pages,” Hanson said.

Katie Romero, mother of two-year-old Lynleigh, said her daughter participated last year, as well, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

“She really enjoys watching the other children and participating in the activities,” she said.

Tasjma Walton, an 11-year-old participant, said this was her first time at the event and she enjoyed it.

“It seemed like a lot of fun, and I liked learning more about the weather,” she shared.

Hanson said she hopes the local participation in the “Reach Out and Read” program will help boost a love of reading in Pike County.

“We want children to read,” she said. “If they can read, they can do anything. It’s important to promote reading and readiness.”