United Way of Southington has come up with a simple, yet exciting way of participating in a nationwide program to engage a million volunteers over the next three years in mentoring our youth.
Volunteers have been enlisted locally as guest readers at four Southington elementary schools on Tuesday, June 21, to read to children in their classrooms.
“With just two days left in the school year, this will be a fun event to help break up any end-of-school jitters,” said United Way Executive Director Carol Reilly, pointing out the importance of reading to the academic success of young people. “The effort also punctuates our unofficial trademark: Southington people helping Southington People.”
Guest readers will spend about 30 minutes each reading at the town’s elementary schools.
“Our schools and students are excited to partner with United Way in this venture. It’s a win-win for all involved; thanks to Carol Reilly for making this happen,” said School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr.
With wide local support, there’ll be readers representing Lincoln College, Community Mental Health Affiliates, Target Stores, TD Bank, Southington Public Library, Southington Patch and many others.
The schools will provide books to read. Some readers will bring their own books, including Southington Library’s Executive Director Susan Smayda, also a guest reader. Target Stores will send books for readers and donate them to the school library.
Reading to and mentoring our youth takes on heightened importance with statistical data from 2-1-1 info-line indicating that Southington has a higher percentage of out-patient calls for mental health care issues involving youth than all of Connecticut, Reilly said.
“Kids can be a lot more open to the idea at this time of year than early in the year,” Smayda said. “The novelty of a guest reader, also kind of opens them to a fun time.”
Hopefully, the one-day event may generate greater interest in reading to kids during the summer months. Southington Public Library has the books, material and programs to make that happen, including their Story Time & Story Sprouts, Tales & Tunes For Tots and other programs.
Stop by soon for a visit to the delightfully cheerful children’s library. You can peruse http://www.southingtonlibrary.org, without leaving home.
“The important thing is that we read to them because the first literary skill in learning is hearing,” said Cynthia Cohen, children’s librarian.
In fact, all of the senses, including touch, sight and taste, are key to children’s early learning, Cohen added.
As Southington reads to our youth, we're reminded of how many ways the people of Southington are helping one another, every day.