Special Correspondent The Pinkie C. Wilkerson Life Development Center of Grambling, in cooperation with the Grambling Alumnae Chapter (GAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., conducted a story time during the month of June for children ages three to seven.
Adults, including college students and one high school student, volunteered to read stories and engaged the children in talking about characters and situations in the stories. The objective of the program was to aid in developing in young children a love for reading.
Dorothy Alexander, president of the GAC, said, “I decided to do this project to give younger children something to do that might help ready them for school. It was easy to do and required little money.”
The program began with Hannah McCarty reading Dr. Seuss’ Daisy-Head Mayzie, and continued with the following readers and books: Elfreda Humphries, Ezra Jack Keat’s The Snowy Day; Dustin Barnes, H. A. Rey’s Curious George; Carolyn Collier, Walt Disney’s The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig; Jon Jon, Givens Mary Hoffman’s Amazing Grace; James Bradford, Ria Griffin’s Pickle Man and the Crocodile Lady; Ruby Higgins, Mary Hoffman’s Boundless Grace; LaShonda Stirgus, Patricia C. McKissack’s Flossie and the Fox; and Reagan Higgins, Laura Joffe Numeroff’s If You Gave a Mouse a Cookie.
Other members of the GAC who volunteered with the program include Gloria Moore, Valena Lane, Grace Tatem, Elfreda Humphries, Ruby Higgins, Kathryn Newman, Mable Houston, Gwendolyn Giles, Mable Harris, Pauline Johnson, and Liz White. Non-members who volunteered are Theresa Wyatt and Pamela McLaughlin.
As a recruiter for this program, Lane visited all three local public housing complexes and several areas in Ruston. She said that some of these children “probably never would have been exposed to this delightful, educational summer program.”
“Recruiting for this program was most rewarding. The excitement and smiles of approval were exhibited from the parents and children as I moved from house to house. I applaud the Pinkie C. Wilkerson Foundation for this investment, which will yield dividends seen and unseen. This experience, I am sure, has helped to make a positive difference in the lives of the children,” she said.
Twelve-year-old Reagan Higgins said that she enjoyed reading to the participants. “I love reading, and I thought that reading to children was a good idea. All children need to read to build their vocabularies,” said the seventh grader at Homewood Middle School in Homewood, Ala. Reagan’s grandmother, Ruby Higgins, is a member of the GAC.
Alexander said, “Our goal was to help children learn to listen, follow directions, and appreciate books. The extent to which we achieved our goal is yet to be determined. However, it can be reported that at least two three-year-olds were observed to be quite improved in their ability to pay attention and to follow instructions.”
“Hopefully, the Read Me a Story project will be continued this fall and will involve use of the [Lincoln] parish library. Nothing makes my heart glad more than a child saying, ‘Please read me a story,'” said Alexander.
The children who participated in the program are Aaron Ardoin, Jeremiah Buggs, India Collins, Kelli Copes, Ki Deloney, Jalen Ferguson, Destiny Hampton, Frank Hampton, Nicole Hullum, Heaven Jackson, Christian Jenkins, Del’Quez Jones, Ketavous Mattox, O’Bresha Mays, Nubia McLaughlin, Raevyn McNight, Sidney Millage, Gavin Pickens, Gmerrio Underwood, Anastasia Weatherford, Devarius White, Tracey White, Lonnie Williams Jr., Amaya Wright, Christian Wright, Jasmine Wright and Willie Wright Jr.