Westminster Read-Aloud Series Gives Kids Jump Start on Literacy

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Throughout the semester, students in the education program at Westminster College are taking part in a weekly series reading stories aloud to young children.

A new entry in the “Storytime with the Titans” video series will be posted to the YouTube channel of the college’s McGill Library at 9 a.m. each Saturday through the end of April. Each week will focus on a new theme and every book will be available for local residents to borrow from the library.

“According to a multitude of research, the benefits of well-planned read-alouds are abundant. Intentional read-alouds lead into shared, guided and independent reading and writing,” said Diana Reed, lecturer in Westminster’s school of education, in a statement. “Future teachers are learning – even when conducting virtual story reading – strategies which they can use to help students build strong literacy skills in any future pre-kindergarten to fourth grade class setting.”

The first two videos in the series feature “The Birthday Wish” by Chihiro Iwasaki and “My Shadow and I” by Patty Wolcott. The themes of future entries include:

  • Feb. 20, Cold: Presented by senior Faith Guy and junior Juliana Diehl.
  • Feb. 27, Love: Presented by senior Gayner Rossi and junior Ashley Frank.
  • March 6, Fun: Presented by senior Madison Dickson and junior Emily Bonidie.
  • March 13, Green: Presented by juniors Katherine Webb and Emma Bottcher.
  • March 20, Weather: Presented by seniors Marissa Bowers and Chrissy Cannella.
  • March 27, Magic: Presented by juniors Kristen Balczon and Jaira Cowie.
  • April 3, Music: Presented by juniors Kevin MacMurdo and Makayla Guntrum.
  • April 24, Poetry: Presented by senior Avery Naleppa and post-baccalaureate student Hope Wilterdink.

Reading aloud isn’t natural for every one, Reed said, and Westminster education students work with faculty to develop their techniques. Among the tips from Westminster faculty including adjusting your pace to fit the story, engage listeners by “reading with them, not to them,” offering details and asking questions. The same tips, Reed said, can be used by caregivers at home.

“Even if a caregiver only has a few minutes and has only a few books, read and talk about a few pages at a sitting,” Reed said. “Look at the same book many times over and show children how to gently handle a book, how to turn pages, and how to track sentences from left to right by placing a finger under each sentence as it is read.  Encourage the child to ‘read’ the book on their own.”

Source: Westminster College

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.