All God’s Children Preschool hosts family literacy night

54

Children and parents enjoy games and emphasis on reading and literacy

By Josh Bootsma

The basement of the Lansing First United Methodist Church was abuzz with activity on Friday night as parents and children of All God’s Children Preschool played games, read books, and learned about the Family Literacy Program offered by the school.

Started by the school’s director Judy Koch, the Family Literacy Program has been actively involving children and their parents in literacy-related activities since it started eight years ago. Friday’s event was intended to inform families about the program.

Judy Koch is the director of All God’s Children Preschool and started the Family Literacy Program eight years ago. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“The goal of tonight is to involve the parents and have them learn and understand the importance of reading and the importance of stimulating their children in many ways to learn to read and to write,” Koch said during the event.

The under-the-sea-themed night started with Koch providing parents with an overview of the purpose and goal of the program while the children watched a movie. Following the overview, families were split into three groups and rotated between three rooms in the school where they could play games, make crafts, and participate in other activities. Leaders also read books to the students, and each student was allowed to take a book home.

In addition to having books read to them, children were invited to play games and participate in other activities. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Every other week, children of families involved in the literacy program will bring home one of 50 literacy bags for their family to work through. The bags contain books, games, and other activities to help the child learn reading and writing skills. The activities are designed for the whole family to be involved. Once completed, the bag can be exchanged for a new one.

An example of one of the family literacy bags, which includes books and other activities to help foster at-home literacy development. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

The program instructions in each bag say, “This program will, at no cost to you, provide you with quality educational materials that are fun. Because you spend more time with your child and we have the resources, we hope this will be a collaboration that will enhance your child’s love of reading and prepare him/her to be a life long learner.”

Koch also emphasized the importance of environmental print, “like reading McDonald’s and Burger King and all those things that are in your environment—children read those, even at [age] 2. And if you cut pictures out—ads and things like that—and put them in a book, children will read that as young as [age] 3. And that really really stimulates their love to learn and wanting to read.”

More information about All God’s Children Preschool can be found at the Lansing First United Methodist Church’s website, www.fumclansing.org/preschool. First United Methodist Church is located at 18420 Burnham Ave.