Parents learn hands-on activities to help with literacy at workshops

Andrea Ulrey with her son, Ethan.

Andrea Ulrey with her son, Ethan.

Andrea Ulrey brought Ethan to a literacy workshop at the Children’s Learning Center and her 4-year-old son did something he had never done before — he wrote his name!

Andrea was beaming as she held up a piece of paper with the letters of her son’s name on it.

“He will write letters at home, but never has done his whole name,” she said. “I think him seeing other kids doing it encouraged him to write his name.”

Oakland Family Services began offering a series of six literacy workshops for families enrolled in the Great Start Readiness Program at the Children’s Learning Center in Walled Lake thanks to funding from PNC Bank. The agency received $1,650 for the program as part of a $7,000 grant awarded by PNC. The workshops will begin at the Children’s Learning Center in Pontiac in January.

Sarah Khozme with her son, Lucas.

Sarah Khozme with her son, Lucas.

The “Engaging Families in Children's Literacy Development” workshop series includes videos, hands-on activities, and a facilitator’s guide for involving families in their children’s literacy. Parents receive instruction and materials for engaging in hands-on, practical ways to read, write, draw, and complete various literacy activities at home. Each participating family receives two dry erase markers, a dry erase board and eraser.

Laura Woodall, lead teacher at the Children’s Learning Center, said these hands-on activities are practical ways for families to engage in reading, writing and talking with their children.

“When families attend these workshops, they will learn how to build their children's literacy skills during everyday activities,” she said “I want them to learn how easy it is to implement literacy in everyday life. You can do it no matter where you are. This series shows how to do literacy at home in your living room, engaging in literacy in the bathtub, it’s as simple as watching TV and what might you say to your child, if you go to the grocery store give your child paper and pencil and have them write a list.”

During a recent workshop, parents rotated through several different literacy workstations, which included letter-sound knowledge, oral language, phonological awareness, comprehension, writing, and concepts of print.

Sarah Khozme and her 4-year-old son, Lucas, were practicing recalling at the comprehension workstation where he created a spinner with the names of family members.

Krystal Follis with her daughter, Lucy.

Krystal Follis with her daughter, Lucy.

“We have five names we have to put on here,” said his mother, who counted “1, 2, 3, 4, 5,” as she pointed to each section of the spinner. After Lucas gave her the names of the family members he wanted written on the spinner, he flicked the spinner with his finger and told a story about the person whose name the spinner landed on.

Meanwhile, at the oral language workstation, Krystal Follis and her 4-year-old daughter, Lucy, were busy sorting photos into different categories. Krystal has two older children, ages 12 and 13, but she came to the workshop to see if she could learn something new to teach Lucy.

“I am always looking to expand my knowledge and learn how to help my daughter grow and develop,” she said.

Learn more about our Children’s Learning Centers.