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L.O.U. on a Roll to Make Reading Fun for Parents and Children


The L.O.U. Reads Coalition will help parents learn to boost their children’s reading abilities at the Lafayette County & Oxford Public Library Monday at 5:30 p.m.

After two overwhelmingly successful workshops at two local childcare centers: ABC Learning and Little Angels, the coalition organizers Lafayette County Literacy Council and the United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County are holding a third one at the public library.

The 30-minute workshop will teach parents and caregivers fun, educational ways to encourage their children’s reading skills starting from birth. Free childcare and pizza will be provided for the attendees.

Anne Marie Ross, a field technical assistant for the Early Years Network, is leading the workshop. Ross has traveled all over north Mississippi to help early childhood care providers prepare their children for their future educational pursuits.

“I typically spend my days talking to and training the people who take care of very young children while their parents or guardians are at work. With this workshop, I’m thrilled to have the chance to show parents how to build early literacy skills, since I believe that parents are a child’s first and most important teachers,” said Ross.

L.O.U. Reads is a coalition of local schools, nonprofit organizations and the University of Mississippi along with many committed individuals. This organization advocates school preparation, boosting reading levels to third grade proficiency and quality reading instruction/tutoring along with positive out-of-school experiences.

L.O.U. Excel by 5 works in partnership with this organization. United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County and Lafayette County Literacy Council co-convene on this organization.

Alice Ricks, executive director of United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County, touches on her past experience as a kindergarten and first grade teacher when explaining the importance of making learning fun.

“This is not about flash cards, drills or memorization. Instead, Ann Marie will teach parents how to embrace teachable everyday moments and show them how to turn simple activities, like reading a bedtime story, into opportunities for learning.”

Lafayette County Literacy Council joins the United Way in overseeing the L.O.U. educational outreach. Meridith Wulff, executive director of the council, said, “When a child has fun reading and sees his parents having fun reading as well, that child is more likely to grow up loving reading and learning, and more likely to succeed in school and in life. Literacy starts at birth, and parents can play an essential role – but their job isn’t a complicated one. This workshop will show parents just how easy it is to grow a great reader!”

The organizations believe in the crucial importance of learning up to a child’s fifth birthday, and want to offer learning opportunities to all children regardless of socioeconomic status so they may be prepared for achievement in schools. The organizations cited that in Mississippi 41 percent of children begin kindergarten unprepared. Especially children of color and children from low-income families are found to be less likely to have opportunities to prepare.

With these statistics in mind L.O.U. Reads workshop: “Growing a Great Reader,” is free and open to the public. L.O.U. Reads plans to have one last workshop at another local childcare center in early May before summer vacations.

For more information about L.O.U. Reads, contact Meridith Wulff at lafayetteliteracy@gmail.com or 662-234-4234 or Alice Ricks at alice@unitedwayoxfordms.org or 662-236-4265.

Callie Daniels is a staff writer/reporter for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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