Joining more than 45 million readers across the country who participated in the 16th annual National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America Day on Friday, March 1, volunteer readers from the community delighted preschoolers at the West Haven Community House.
NEA’s Read Across America Day celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday and the joys of reading. In addition, it promotes adult participation in the education of our community’s students with a goal to build a nation of readers every day.
Community House Executive Director, Patty Stevens, noted that agency board members, business leaders, and local officials were among those who took time out of their busy schedule to read to the preschoolers. They included Mayor Nancy Rossi; WHCH’s board president, Bill Heffernan; board members John Lewis, Grace Hendricks, Carole Porto, Gayle Tagliatela, Liz Johnston; as well as Christina Cappetta from Cappetta’s Italian Imports and Pizza, and news reporter, Tony Terzi, from Fox 61.
“For 78 years, the West Haven Community House has provided significant leadership in educating our youth and is grounded in the principle that an investment in education is key to our community’s well-being and long-term quality of life,” said Stevens. “We provide a comprehensive pre-school program to 144 children through our Head Start program, as well as help more than 300 working families in our Children & Youth Services program that provides before and after school care for elementary school-aged children in seven West Haven schools.” she continued.
Literacy-focused family engagement activities are held monthly for Head Start families promoting the significance of reading to their children daily. Head Start recently held a Family Pajama Party and Literacy Night in collaboration with Read to Grow, West Haven Public Library and West Haven Family Resource Center. Families signed up to receive library cards, and enrolled to participate in the library’s “1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge.”
Each child received a book, which was donated from Read to Grow; and a new pair of pajamas that were collected from a pajama drive coordinated by Head Start Family Engagement Facilitator member, Tennille Murphy resulting in 86 pairs of pajamas collected by friends and family of New Haven County.
For more information about the West Haven Community House, and to volunteer to read in their Head Start preschool program, please visit www.whcommunityhouse.org or call (203) 934-5221.