Family Literacy Nights planned for today, tomorrow

Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) Head Start program is treating parents and children participating in Head Start to a series of Family Literacy Nights.

One is scheduled for April 9 (today) in Oswego and April 10 in Cleveland.

OCO Head Start Family Literacy Nights are filled with fun activities based on well-known children’s books.

Recently, the theme for the nights is based on the works of acclaimed author Eric Carle, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Busy Spider, to name a few.

The creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children, Carle is best known for his book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The book has been translated into more than 50 languages and has sold more than 33 million copies. Since the book’s publication in 1969, Carle has illustrated more than 70 books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 110 million copies of his books have sold around the world.

Beth Kazel, director of OCO Education Services said that the uniqueness of Carle’s books make them a real treat for the children.

“Mr. Carle’s works are much more than just books.  Many have added dimensions such as die-cut pages and lifelike sounds.  While they are interesting and fun to read they are much like a toy that can be played with and enjoyed,” said Kazel.

Carle has said the appeal of his books lies in his intuitive understanding of and respect for children, who sense in him instinctively someone who shares their most cherished thoughts and emotions.

“With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school. To me home represents, or should represent, warmth, security, toys, holding hands, being held. School is a strange and new place for a child. Will it be a happy place? There are new people, a teacher, classmates — will they be friendly?”

“The unknown often brings fear with it,” Carle said. “In my books I try to counteract this fear, to replace it with a positive message. I believe that children are naturally creative and eager to learn. I want to show them that learning is really both fascinating and fun.”

Kazel added some of the activities for the Family Literacy Nights include: Grouchy Lady Bug math, making spider webs, caterpillars, puffy paint and snacking on pancakes while parents take turns reading Eric Carle books to the children.

“We have had excellent feedback from both parents and children that have attended our Literacy Nights in Fulton and Phoenix. “We are looking forward to our upcoming Literacy Nights in Oswego on April 9, and in Cleveland April 10.  Families will have fun while engaging in early reading skills with their children,” said Kazel.

For more information on the OCO Head Start program, contact Beth Kazel at  598-4711, or visit www.oco.org.

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