Event emphasizes reading
Posted May 5, 2006

The University of La Verne, in conjunction with the Fairplex Child Development Center, hosted a free Family Literacy Conference, “Building Bridges to Literacy.” More than 25 parents attended the conference, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at ULV.

The event, which was coordinated by Assistant Professor of Child Development Cindy Cary and Professor of Education Marga Madhuri, allowed a chance for parents to be the bridge helping their children to connect home from school.

Parents were separated from their children and taken to La Fetra Hall for a workshop. The children were taken to designated childcare locations where they participated in a hands-on literacy activity with the guidance and support of the workshop presenter.

“There are five different presentations, from preschool to third grade,” Madhuri said. “In the first part, the children are dropped off and taught an activity and in the second part the children met their parents and practiced the activity they just learned.”

The conference is a part of the CDC’s Pathway to Success/Family Literacy Project, which is a project funded by the First Five L.A., an organization which focuses on improving the lives of young children and their families in Los Angeles County.

Elizabeth Turnbull, a fourth grade teacher at Montera Elementary and presenter for the conference, was asked to participate at the event by her mentor Madhuri.

“I think this is a great event which I would definitely recommend to anybody, especially the struggling readers,” Turnbull said. “By coming to these literacy conferences you learn strategy and how to be kept engaged.”

During Turnbell’s presentation for parents, she explained that the purpose for reading with your own children is to improve vocabulary and learning, so a parent can teach others and have fun.

In her workshop, Turnbull explained that the most important part of reading to a child is having them understand the story and connecting the child to the text.

A student in the credential program, Cathy Blackler was a volunteer at the event. She is currently in Madhuri’s class, and when she asked for volunteers, Blackler was thrilled to be a participant at such an important event.

“I think this event was a great idea and I would definitely do it again next year,” Blackler said. “I highly recommend this for everyone and have already begun spreading the word for next year.”

Adriana Banuelos, 34, was an attendant at the event.

As a parent and elementary school teacher, Banuelos felt the event was very informative and said she learned a lot of techniques she could not only use for her son, but for her class as well.

“I think this event was very well organized,” Banuelos said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be so great, considering the event was free.”

During the last two hours of the event, parents and their children had lunch and played games at the University mall. The games were set up by the National Honor Society and Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority.

President of Phi Sigma Sigma and member of the Honor Society, Mercy-Faith Kimbwala, a junior business major, was excited that she got the chance to play with the children and support the conference.

“There was an announcement made to all organizations to come support, so on behalf of Phi Sigma Sigma we are happy to support the opening of the literacy clinic,” Kimbwala said. “It’s nice to see the children here with their parents having such a positive experience.”

Gabby De La Cruz can be reached at gdelacruz@ulv.edu.

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