The Military Child Education Coalition, or MCEC, and the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library have teamed up over the past year to offer various workshops to the community. Some of the most popular are the early literacy workshops, which consist of hours of storytelling and crafts for children, combined with reading strategies and information for parents and guardians.
Last Friday, the two teamed up again to offer a new early literacy workshop, this time on Facebook Live and featuring a book and crafts on friendship. Selina Bennett and Leslie Hufstedler-Alvarez from MCEC, in the presence of children’s librarian Erica Rossmiller, were also in attendance.
Bennett opened his doors by telling attendees, “Early literacy is the foundation of reading and comprehension” and that although it is a non-profit organization for children related to l ‘army, “Our information is valuable to everyone. “
Hufstedler-Alvarez opened the storytelling portion of the workshop with the song “Friend of Mine”, sung to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. It was pointed out by Bennett, working behind the scenes posting relevant information in the chat box, that singing the song before the story can grab a child’s attention.
Reading strategies were discussed, many of which have been used throughout history. These made predictions, visualization, questioning, connection, identification with the author’s purpose, inference and evaluation.
The featured book was “How to Be a Friend” by Laurie Karsny Brown and Marc Brown. The story puts some of the complexities of friendship in simple terms, reinforced by the conversations depicted in the illustrations, which children can understand. These included how to play fairly, how to defend others and how to catch up after an argument. He also addressed bullies, something that, as Hufstedler-Alvarez pointed out, children, “will have to deal with for the rest of their lives.”
While Hufstedler-Alvarez was reading, she drew attention to the illustrations and asked questions. She also used real-world examples to make connections to the text, and spoke to parents and caregivers throughout her reading, giving them tips and suggestions for making connections for their own children.
“I love this book because you can really make good real-life references on how to be a good friend with people,” she said.
The related activity was a “Rainbow of Cuteness” craft, which involved children cutting out pieces of rainbow, clouds and raindrops, gluing it all together, tie the drops to a string and on each raindrop wring out words of kindness. Hufstedler-Alvarez said the materials needed – construction paper, scissors, glue – were likely things people would have around the house. She also suggested keeping a craft box or cabinet at home to store arts and crafts supplies.