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College to Host Literacy Fair


Moberly Area Community College will host its first literacy fair on Friday, April 17, in the Blue Room on the Moberly Campus.

The fair, called Growing Readers, is in conjunction with The Week of the Young Child (WOYC), April 13-17, a national initiative of hundreds of organizations to promote early learning in children from birth to age 8. MACC's fair is organized by the Early Childhood Education and Associate Arts in Teaching departments.

According to MACC's Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator Tracy Huang, preschool, pre-k and kindergarten classes are invited to participate in a free activity called Pete the Cat and His Groovy Shoes and Buttons. The activity will run twice on April 17 at 9:30am and 10am. At 3:30pm, Julie Barnett, a librarian, teacher and local author of children's books will speak about being an advocate for early literacy and its influence on her decision to become a writer. Barnett's session is free and open to the public.

"The WOYC recognizes and acknowledges the nation's youngest learners," said Huang. "At the Growing Readers literacy fair this year, we are focusing on the importance of early literacy in the formation of readers and writers."

MACC will offer several literacy and craft activities for students from preschool to high school throughout the day. A Scholastic book sale from 9am to 4:30pm is open to the public. All the proceeds from the event will go towards a lending library for the use of MACC students in related programs.

Studies going back twenty years show that the vocabulary size of children in kindergarten predicts reading scores at later grades. Researchers found that the larger the vocabulary at a young age, the greater the advantage the child will have in reading. Investing early in children not only makes a difference socially, it is a financially sound decision that is getting national attention. President Obama addressed early childhood education in his 2015 State of the Union address, saying that it needed to become a national priority.

"Preschool education is a better investment than the stock market," explained Huang. "A group of University of Chicago economists found it yields a 7-10% return on investment. The President even mentioned in his State of the Union that a $1 today can save $7 in the future."

Parents can make a large impact on the reading level of their children. Researchers at Stanford recently found that children from higher income households whose parents engage them in conversations have 30% more words in their vocabulary at age 2 compared to children from lower income households. Unfortunately, as time goes on the gap keeps growing bigger, with children from more affluent homes hearing 30 million more words by age 3 compared to their peers from a lower income household. With vocabulary size being closely related to learning to read, this language gap has become a national cause for concern. It becomes difficult for children to catch up and narrow the gap as they go through the later grades. The key, says Huang is not just memorizing vocabulary.

"Children need constant conversation, not just commands to obey," says Huang." They need to be in the kitchen or car interacting with the adults about the world around them."

Friday's schedule of events include:

9:00am - 4:00pm Book Sale in MACC's Blue Room  
9:30am - 11:45pm Various events for local area schools
(through reservation)
Blue Room
2:00pm - 3:00pm Round table discussion with AAT students  
3:30pm - 4:30 pm Guest Speaker: Julie Barnett Blue Room


Space for the events is limited, so reservations are necessary. Community members and school administrators may contact Tina Hying to reserve a slot at 660-263-4100 ext. 11308 or email at .



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