PDT Staff Writer
For the love of literacy, more than 100 parents and children involved in the Scioto County Head Start and Early Head Start programs walked laps around Spartan Stadium on Friday. The second annual “Laps for Books” event is a literacy-focused program in which children get to choose a book to take home for every lap that is performed, up to five laps.
The event opened with encouragement from Portsmouth Mayor David Malone.
“Success can’t come without the tools for learning, and the tools of learning can’t come without the opportunity to read,” Malone said. “I just wanted to encourage the parents to read, and to read to their children as well, so that children will learn to read on their own.”
Stations that featured activities to enhance gross- and fine-motor skills were also available for the children, as were fresh apples, oranges and iced water for the participants.
“We push literacy a lot, in addition to Laps for Books,” said Kim Johnson, Scioto County Head Start parent involvement manager and coordinator of the event. “We have a Project Read Program, in which the children read and list up to 20 books and get credit for that. The children really appreciate the books.”
These programs make a big difference in the classroom.
“They offer all kinds of programs for us, so we decided to come to this one, too,” said Melissa Allen, who has two daughters involved in the Early Head Start program. “Everything involves reading, what the kids do, when they get older, the jobs they’re going to have. So if they don’t develop those skills early then they’re going to have trouble the further along that they go through school and the rest of their life.”
Scioto County CAO Head Start Director Mary Parker said this activity allows parents and children to spend quality time together.
“It shows the value of exercise in our community, where that continues to be a problem,” Parker said. “If we can get parents to buy into that when their children are young, and their children to be enthusiastic, that’s a great thing. And then to tie it into literacy, which we all know how important literacy is to help with the future of our children in schools.”
For more information about the Head Start and Early Start programs, call 740-354-3333, ext. 239 or 240.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org.