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English Language Learners Event Emphasizes Reading to Children

Prairie Grove hosts event to emphasize the importance of reading to children.

Friday morning, an English Language Learners (ELL) event at Prairie Grove emphasized the importance of reading to children.

"We have an outstanding teacher at Prairie Grove for our ELL program. Her name is Renee DelMissier," said Prairie Grove Principal Vic Wight. The ELL program is for children who have more than one language spoken at home.

"I have high expectations of the kids and like to help the parents too. I like to get the parents more involved," DelMissier said.

DelMissier hosts events to invite the parents of the ELL program into the building. Friday morning she had the parents attend an ELL event featuring Dr. Jay Einhorn of the Learning Resource Alliance. Einhorn came to talk to the parents about the importance of reading together.

Beth Martin, Director of Student Services, introduced Einhorn and a translator, Veronica Lopez.

Einhorn, a clinical psychologist from the Learning Resource Alliance, began, "We are interested in literacy and helping children acquire literacy and thinking skills."

They focus in a particular type of story called, "teaching stories."

"It is very easy to see the difference between children whose parents read to them and those who park them in front of a television," Einhorn pointed out.

When parents read to their children, "Children follow better and pay better attention. They recognize letters and words more quickly," Einhorn added.

"Children love to be read to, they love to hear stories and look at the pictures. The children love to read the same story over and over again. In psychology, we talk about bonding and attachment. When parents and children read together, it forms a very good, strong bond," he advised.

Einhorn read the story, "The Old Woman and the Eagle" by Idries Shah to the guests and Lopez read it in Spanish. (The books by the Learning Alliance Resource have both English and Spanish on each page.) 

Afterward, he reviewed by pointing out that the simple language is accessible for children along with beautiful illustrations. He added that there was another level of meaning in the story. The story they read talked about human nature and about situations that we experience in daily life. It was a story about prejudice.

Gustavo and Ulysses, two of DelMissier's seventh-grade students, came to listen in during the story.

After the event, her students joined the class, enjoying fruit and listening to another story, "The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water," also by Idries Shah. This book addressed the topic of fear.

Beril Basman of the Learning Resource Alliance gave out books to all the children to keep.

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