Reading provides head start
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2015
OCAP Troy Head Start is operating at capacity and Octavia Jones, site manager, said there is little doubt that all 120 kids enjoy a good story, read or told.
This week Troy Head Start is participating in NEA’s Read Across America, which is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading.
The big celebration of reading is held annually on March 2, which is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, every child’s favorite author. However, Jones said the celebration at Troy Head Start is a weeklong event.
“We invite parents and community helpers to come and read to the children,” Jones said. “The response is always outstanding and we appreciate those who take the time to come and share a story with the children.”
Dr. Richard Schloemer read to the children on Monday. Shelia Jackson, Troy director of tourism; Sgt. Sam Mallory, Pike County Sheriff’s Department; and Mitch Sneed, personal trainer, read on Tuesday. Teresa Colvin, Troy Public Library children’s librarian will read today.
Jones quoted a line from a poem attributed to NEA staff member Anita Merina and adopted by Read Across America, “You never get too old, too wacky, too wild to pick up a book and ready to a child.”
“Reading is essential and we want children at Troy Head Start to realize how important reading is,” she said. “They learn the importance when people they look up to and admire read to them.”
Jackson said she looks forward to every opportunity she has to read to children.
“It sounds rather cliché but reading does open the doors to the world,” Jackson said. “If you can read, you can go anywhere, do anything and be anything you want to be. Reading expands our horizons and stretches our imaginations. It gives us wings.”
For Mallory, reading to the children was an opportunity for them to see that law enforcement officers are people just like them – only bigger.
Mallory said reading to children gives them a feeling of familiarity with law enforcement officers and opens the doors of communication between them.
Jackson and Mallory chose to read books by Dr. Seuss but Sneed chose a book that had more “meat” to it – actually more fruits and vegetables.
Sneed told the children that reading is very important because it builds their minds. And, he said, it is also important for them to build and strengthen their bodies.
“We build up our bodies by eating healthy foods and drinking milk and water and juices like orange juice and apple juice,” he said. “We need to take care of our minds and our bodies and we need to start when we are little kids.”
Jones said OCAP Troy Head Start offers a holistic educational program for children ages three to five.
“We are recruiting children for the 2015-2016 school year now,” she said. “Head Start is an income eligible program and it is a comprehensive pre-school program that includes children with handicaps.”
Jones said the children are served USDA-approved breakfasts and lunches and snacks.
“We have six classrooms, each with 20 children, and a disabilities aide if need,” she said.
Registration for the 2015-2016 school year may be done onsite or at the OCAP building on North Three Notch Street in Troy. Harriet McFarlin is the Head Start director.