Little enjoys inspiring children

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2001

Nothing thrills Hilda Little more than inspiring children to love books. On Thursday she enjoyed just such an opportunity at a gathering at the community center of Susie B. West Apartments.

&uot;The children were bursting over with joy at the books,&uot; Little said, as she described the faces of the 35 youngsters receiving free books from the Reading is Fundamental program.

&uot;We had some wonderful books to give them, some Newberry Award winners and some multi-cultural books,&uot; she said.

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The local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women sponsors the book distribution through a federal program assisted by matching local funds.

&uot;Children are given the opportunity to choose their own book in an atmosphere of fun,&uot; she said. Those who chose books were from pre-school age to seventh grade. Older teens assist the council members by reading to the young children and helping with activities during the event.

&uot;Besides the books, the children enjoyed hot dogs and all the trimmings,&uot; Little said, pointing out that the council has participated in the program for about 10 years.

A teacher for 41 years before she retired, Little finds the activities stimulating. &uot;It’s a pleasure to still be working with children, to keep my brain working and, I hope, to do something meaningful for the community.&uot;

The Reading is Fundamental program emphasizes family involvement in helping children to maintain interest in reading, she said. &uot;New research has shown that by talking, singing and reading to children at an early age, you are turning on brain cells that are necessary for laying the foundation for later reading success.&uot;

She offered these tips to families of young school children:

Become involved in the child’s Reading is Fundamental program.

Read to your children and encourage them to read to you.

Introduce your children to the library and make frequent visits.

Play word games such as Scrabble.

Encourage writing: greeting cards, thank-you notes and letters, for example.

Make sure reading time is fun.