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STLCC-Meramec Students Encouraging Reading From The Start

February 11, 2013

St. Louis Community College students are doing their part to promote the joy of reading to area children.

Students enrolled in Human Growth and Development, Language and Literacy in Early Care and Education, and Children’s Literature classes who have completed the Missouri Humanities Council reading training program “READ from the START,” will be reading to young children and their caregivers on select Wednesdays from February to April. Story time dates are Feb. 20, March 6 and 20, and April 3, 10 and 17. All sessions are at 3 p.m. in the Meramec Library and are free and open to the public.

“READ from the START” is a free program teaching parents and caregivers about the benefits of reading to children age 5 and under.

The idea began with Diane Pisacreta, professor in behavioral science, who remembered a story time that Meramec hosted years ago for National Library Week, and thought a revival of the program would be a good idea to involve the community and encourage reading.

After bringing the idea to Becky Helbling, a reference librarian, Helbling thought it would make a great service learning project. Students from classes taught by Pisacreta, fellow behavioral science professor Sophia Pressman and adjunct faculty member Linda Hubble had the opportunity to complete the “READ from the START” program.

Training focused on techniques on reading to children, stressed the impact that reading to children has on intellectual development and creating an emotional connection.

“This project was designed to give students an outlet to apply what they have learned in class and put it into practice,” said Pisacreta, “The students did great in the training and felt like they got a lot out of it.”

“I’m a great proponent of service learning, which allows students to connect their academic studies with real life service to the community," Helbling said. "In this case, Human Growth and Development students are providing service to their college library and to the community at large through reading stories and getting kids excited about reading. At the same time, they’re trying out and observing first-hand the concepts they’ve been studying in the classroom. That’s great for everybody.”