Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
"I'm a pout-pout fish, with a pout-pout face, so I spread the dreary-wearies all over the place ... BLUB, BLUB, BLUB," read Diane Flores, a youth services assistant at the Clayton County Headquarters Library.
As a part of the county's summer reading program, "Make a Splash, Read!" the library hosted a free learning program called "Undersea Adventures," for excited students on Wednesday. Using ocean-themed, children's literature and live music, the library treated more than 20 parents, and nearly 40 children, to a morning of interactive-learning activities.
Flores said the purpose of the event was to help children develop a love of music and books. "Since our summer reading program is, 'Make a Splash Read,' I thought we could make something and have an underwater theme," said Flores, who helped organize the program. "It's good for them to move around, because if you just read to them, they are going to get a little antsy. When you have that combination [of music and reading], you give them an appreciation of books and music, both."
During the program, Flores performed animated public readings of "The Pout-Pout Fish," by Deborah Diesen, "Five Little Sharks Swimming in the Sea," by Steve Metzger, and "The Three Little Fish," by Ken Geist and Julia Gorton.
Between readings, children sang songs led by local music-and-vocal instructor, Nichelle Young. They also played games, such as "Pass the Dolphin," a game resembling musical chairs, in which the last person holding a stuffed dolphin when the music stops is out. While the event included a number of games, the activities introduced the children to new words and reinforced the concepts of reading and math.
Young, who composed several original songs for the events, said the music helps the students stay focused on the lesson. "I think it's important for them to experience music," Young said. "It helps them remember the event. They may read about a shark and they can say, 'Hey, that's what we were singing about. With music, kids may participate and some may not, but they are getting it, anyway."
Andrea Blazia ,of Morrow, a Delta Air Lines flight attendant, said Wednesday's program had a positive impact on her 3-year-old son, Dyson. "This morning, my son was drawing a whale and he said this is the blow hole, so I know he is paying attention."
Levi Young, a high school teacher from Jonesboro, brought his two young daughters to "Undersea Adventures." He said he believes events like the one the library hosted on Wednesday will make reading more enjoyable for his children later on in life.
"I'm an educator, so I want them to develop a love for reading," Young said. "Sometimes, by high school, kids don't read for fun anymore. If they don't get it when they are young, they don't get it. This makes reading fun for them."
The Clayton County Library System is hosting a number of free activities throughout the summer as a part of it's summer reading program. For more information, call (770) 473-3850, or visit www.claytonpl.org.