Preschoolers and their families can meet Taco Dragon from the beloved picture book Dragons Love Tacos at two upcoming Leap into Literacy events hosted by Forsyth County Public Library (FCPL) and Forsyth County Schools (FCS).
Chestatee Elementary School, 6945 Keith Bridge Road, Gainesville, will host the first Leap into Literacy with Taco Dragon event on Monday, March 16 at 6:00 p.m. The event is intended for preschoolers, toddlers, and infants with their caregivers and admission is free.
The second Leap into Literacy with Taco Dragon event will be held at Cumming Elementary School, 540 Dahlonega Street, Cumming, on Wednesday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m.
“Partnering with the library for our children is a fantastic idea. We are excited to host this event and hope that many people will be able to attend. It will be a great first impression of the big school these little ones will attend next year,” said Chestatee Elementary School principal Dr. Polly Tennies.
Kindergarten registration for the 2020-2021 academic year is happening now and many young children in Forsyth County may not have the early literacy skills required for a successful start in school. Leap into Literacy’s expansion to the community surrounding Chestatee Elementary School is intended to reach families who are too far away to participate in events at Cumming Elementary School and the Cumming Library.
“Many children in the northern part of our county are not enrolled in the Georgia Pre-K program or other preschool programs, so kindergarten at Chestatee Elementary will be their first experience in a classroom. The purpose of Leap into Literacy is to empower parents and caregivers to help their children get ready for that first experience and develop the early literacy skills they need to be successful,” explains FCS Title I Part A, Part C, and Title IV Director Amy Chang.
Families attending Leap into Literacy with Taco Dragon events will receive a simple meal as they enjoy a literacy-based storytime and puppet show. Then, librarians, educators, and translators will lead smaller groups of families in practicing reading, writing, singing, talking, and playing with their children in specific ways that develop the early literacy skills needed for kindergarten.
“When we talk with families participating in Leap into Literacy, we’re giving them materials and simple techniques to help engage their children in learning. Our intent is to help young children, especially those who are not enrolled in a preschool program, build and feel confident in their literacy skills so they enter kindergarten ready to fully participate,” says Amy Szvetecz, Youth Services Supervisor at the Hampton Park Library.
Participating preschoolers and their families will receive free early literacy materials and training on how to use them at home, a free picture book appropriate for preschoolers, a set of early literacy activity cards, and a reusable learning activity mat.
Participating families at each event can also enter a raffle drawing for a $20 Target gift card and a set of picture books.
Representatives from Bright from the Start, Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, will also be available to share helpful information about Babies Can’t Wait, summer meal programs, Georgia Pre-K, child care resources, and other programs for families with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
“We’re so grateful to Women United for Forsyth County United Way, Rotary Club of Forsyth County, FCPL Friends & Advocates, and Brandywine Printing for their support of Leap into Literacy with Taco Dragon. Their contributions and their volunteers made it possible for the program to grow and deliver much-needed literacy tools into the hands of young children,” says FCPL Programming Manager Tracy Walker.
Leap into Literacy with Taco Dragon will be the last program hosted inside local elementary schools this academic year.
One more Leap into Literacy program will be offered over the summer and expansion continues. Leap into Literacy with Pancake Pig will be presented at both the Cumming Library and the Hampton Park Library as part of FCPL’s summer reading program.
Leap into Literacy events for the 2020-2021 academic year will be announced in the fall.
For more information on the Leap into Literacy with Taco Dragon at Chestatee Elementary School on March 16 or Cumming Elementary School on March 18, please visit www.forsythpl.org.