By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
The Eastern Plains Community Action Agency Head Start has proclaimed November as their Literacy Awareness Month in an effort to focus on literacy for Head Start students and prepare them for kindergarten.
“This is a statewide literacy awareness event,” said Susan Zamora, Head Start director for EPCAA.
Nov. 26 will serve as the official Literacy Night, as all of the EPCAA Head Starts will have a Dr. Seuss themed reading event for the whole family, and will feature hands-on activities and booths. The EPCAA consists of the Head Starts in Portales, Anton Chico, Clovis, Santa Rosa, Fort Sumner and Tucumcari.
“EPCAA is participating all month, and the all of the Head Starts statewide have been asked to participate. This is the first time we’ve gathered together statewide to plan and develop a literacy event,” said Zamora.
For the month of November, the EPCAA Head Starts will also be inviting community officials to serve as guest readers for the children.
“All month long we will be inviting anybody and everybody to come and volunteer to read to our children,” said Carolina Holguin, the lead teacher for the pre-k class at the Portales Head Start.
“We’re inviting the mayor as well at Sen. Stuart Ingle,” Holguin said.
EPCAA will also include different activities for teachers to use in the classroom throughout the month to promote literacy.
“One activity I was planning to do was filling bags with paint, and letting the students make letters with their fingers,” said Holguin.
“Textured activity really does engage the students. The paint activity teaches them how their hands move when making letters. By the time they start kindergarten, they will understand how to hold a pencil and how to draw letters,” said Zamora.
Zamora also said incorporating environmental reading in the classroom will help the students as well.
“We want to put copies of newspapers and restaurant menus as examples in the classroom to capitalize on environmental reading, so when the children are in the community, they’ll learn to read the community,” said Zamora.
“I want my children to be able to understand the sounds of the letters, and recognize the letters. My goal is to get them ready for kindergarten,” said Holguin.