Monday, November 10, 2008

Storybooks increases literacy and promotes college

TEMPE October 29, 2008 – Rio Salado College early childhood educators Diana Abel and Rene Manning are more comfortable reading storybooks to toddlers than writing one but that hasn’t stopped the two from scripting two new colorful activity books designed to get children reading and their parents thinking about college.
In conjunction with the early childhood staff, they have written Kash the Kangaroo Helps Mommy Go to College, and Megan the Mouse Helps Daddy Go To College. Last week the Rio Salado early childhood staff were distributing copies of the new book at the Channel Eight/KAET PBS KIDS Raising Readers Family Literacy Celebration Day at the state capitol.
Joining with more than 20 others from government departments, community organizations, and area agencies offering hands-on literacy activities at the Wesley Bolin Plaza the staff and program volunteers distributed the free books.

“We felt the best way to encourage children and to support the concept of raising readers was to develop an activity book to read to children,” Diana Abel, Rio Salado College Early Childhood Education Director said.

The books, with Kash the Kangaroo and Megan the Mouse, is a simple story complete with pictures of Kash and his mom and Megan and her dad both of which decide they want to go back to school and head to Rio Salado College.

“The book focuses on how children can help and support their parents going back to college just like we teach them how to help around the house. Parents model the importance of education and are the best role models in the lives of their children,” Abel said.

Response for the new colorful readers was gratifying as numerous parents stopped by their booth with the youngsters in tow saying “I’ve been thinking about going back to college, or I really need to get busy and go back to school,” said Abel.

As partners, Rio Salado College and KAET8/ASSET, are working together to assist early childhood practitioners complete courses that can lead to the national CDA credential. The partnership has resulted in combining the online for-credit courses offered through Rio Salado’s early childhood program and the website, A Place of Our Own, which is supported by KAET8/ASSET.

Students who enroll in these one credit courses will be able to use the wealth of resources found at A Place of Our Own as a part of their course requirements. Resources at this website include video clips, activities, panel discussions and journal articles designed specifically for early childhood practitioners and parents.

“This is a great resource for our students and offers many enriching activities and material for our students” Abel said.

Rio Salado College is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges. The college has an extensive early childhood education program that include numerous certificates, associate degrees and national credentialing courses for those who want to enter the early childhood field or for those in the field who wish to enhance their professional development. For registration or more information call 480-517-8540 or to learn more about Rio’s early childhood programs go to

Want to raise a reader? Read together every day!
It’s okay to read the same book over and over and over again!
Point out print in everyday life…this helps children understand the important of reading.
Be a ready yourself! When is the last time you read a book for enjoyment?
Read a variety of different kids of stories to your child.
Point out the words and their corresponding pictures as your read.
Stop often while reading the story and ask your child what they think might happen next.
Make reading fun by changing your voice to fit the mood of the story.
Find comfortable places where you and your child (ren) can sit close together and snuggle as you enjoy the reading experience.
Share your thoughts about the book.