Family event promotes literacy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2005

FERRIDAY, La. &045; A good story can captivate all who listen, and primetime reading at Ferriday Upper Elementary had the eyes and ears of both children and parents captivated Tuesday night.

The group of near 40 gathered at the school heard &uot;The Tale of the Rabbit and Coyote&uot; from a professional storyteller as part of the six-week program.

The plight of the na-ve coyote and a tricky rabbit shed new light on life issues for the group and discussions following the story showed everyone was quickly applying the lessons to real life.

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And that’s just the aim of the program, discussion leader Maradee Kern said.

&uot;We want to promote literacy and family discussion,&uot; she said.

The families attending the program receive books in advance to read and talk about before hearing the story from the storyteller.

&uot;Hopefully when they leave they’ll go home and not watch TV but discuss more about the story,&uot; storyteller Sylvia Yancy Davis said.

Davis and Kern, both from Alexandria, travel to the school once a week as part of a Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities program. The Concordia Parish School district Title I parent center received a grant to provide the program.

&uot;The purpose is to target families that do not read together,&uot; Title I Supervisor Beatrice Williams said. &uot;We want the kids to see that reading is fun.&uot;

Having fun was unavoidable Tuesday, the third night of the six-week program.

&uot;It’s a program when you get to tell people what you learned about the book,&uot; fifth-grader Morgan Stigall said.

Stigall was one of the students who spent the majority of the night with her hand in the air, eager to give another opinion on the topics.

Tuesday’s lessons included trustworthiness, trickery and following the crowd. The storytellers use animal fables to illustrate their points. Other story nights will discuss curiosity, respect, justice, intelligence and tradition through a variety of stories.

Each week, families take home three borrowed books, when the books are returned they receive more, until the end of the program.

Williams said the number of participants has grown steadily, starting with about 15 at the first program. The children and parents also received door prizes each week and donated gift certificates to area restaurants.

A preschool care room is available each week for parents with younger children and transportation is provided if needed. The program will continue at 5:30 p.m. at FUES for the next three weeks.

&uot;A well read child is a well educated child,&uot; Williams told parents.