Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency hosts literacy night

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 30, 2018

SALISBURY — The Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency and local Head Starts gathered Tuesday evening to bring the community together to celebrate reading.

The program, held at Miller Recreation Center, was held to raise awareness about early literacy and encourage parents to get more involved with their children.

“Part of it was for them to come and enjoy and have a day off with the children,” organizer Quansheeba Kennedy said.

Kennedy is the center manager for Head Start at Livingstone College.

“We invited all of our Rowan County Head Starts,” Kennedy said, “and we’re promoting early literacy.”

Five of Rowan County’s eight Head Start locations participated, along with dozens of parents and students. Part of Head Start’s goal is to ensure that young children are ready for kindergarten when they start school. Having good literacy skills, Kennedy explained, is part of that.

“Reading is very fundamental, especially at this age,” Kennedy said.

East Spencer Center Director Shara Streater-Dearmon agreed.

“I think reading is a foundation to any kind of education, any kind of learning,” she said.

The program featured fun, literacy-promoting activities by each of the Head Starts, a scholastic book fair, basic coding activities, free books and food.

Kennedy said she and other center directors hope that by introducing reading as a fun, family activity, students and parents would be more likely to pursue it during family time.

Representatives of Rowan Public Library and Rowan-Salisbury Schools were also present.

Emily Teeter, Title I parent coordinator with the school system, gave out free books and worked on forming contacts with parents.

Each of the district’s 20 elementary schools is classified as a Title I school, so Teeter said she wanted to start connecting with families now to offer what help she can. In addition to giving away books, Teeter offered suggestions for ways parents can help their child learn and love to read.

Creating a lifelong reader could be as simple as reading to your child for 10 to 15 minutes each night or playing simple car games asking children to spot letters during a drive.

“There’s so many tools to help our kids learn,” Teeter said.

The literacy night, she said, showed a great coming together in support of reading and children that she found encouraging.

“We’re all a community with this,” she said.

For parents, it was a good way to spend the evening with budding readers.

“I like it. It’s a great event for the kids,” parent Tara Hill said.

Hill was there with her 3-year-old daughter, Raven, who is already well on her way to being a book lover.

“We love to read,” Hill said.

Patrice Jones and her 4-year-old daughter, Sanaa, also came out to celebrate a love of reading. Sanaa enjoys reading, Jones said, and likes to think she can do it on her own — though she’s not quite there yet. But Jones said she’ll get there soon.

This is the first time Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency has held a literacy night, but Kennedy said she and others hope to make it a yearly program.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.