Kids reading to kids a hit at library

By Gregory A. Scibelli - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Sat., Jul. 16, 2011
Mercedes Gapko, 11, reads to her brother Bodie, 8, during Book Pals group at the Windsor Public Library. Photos by Gregory A. Scibelli
Mercedes Gapko, 11, reads to her brother Bodie, 8, during Book Pals group at the Windsor Public Library. Photos by Gregory A. Scibelli

A lot of little kids don’t like when their parents are telling them what to do.  Whether it’s chores, homework, or eating vegetables, if a parents says it, a kid is likely to resist.

But when kids see other kids doing things, it gives them a different perspective.

Six-year old Gianna Venturini got that experience on July 14, when she attended the Book Pals group at the Windsor Public Library, a new creative way to pair kids up and see that reading is a good thing.

Venturini said she enjoyed listening to 8-year old pal Emily McLean read to her, and says she enjoys reading and especially being read to.

“I really like it when my sister reads to me,” said Venturini.  “I like it when she reads dinosaur books.  I like listening to them.”

McLean, like many other children involved with the program, started off a few years ago being read to and has transitioned over to the role of being the reader this year.

“I love to read, and I love to read to younger children,” said McLean.  “I really like reading to kids that like to listen to books.”

McLean reads three to five days per week on her own, even during the summer months.

Brenda Rohan, who works in the Children’s Library, led the program on July 14, after returning from vacation, and said she enjoys the many benefits the program brings to the children.

“This is a great way to pair up older children with younger children and show the younger children that reading is a good thing for them,” said Rohan.  “When parents tell you to read, it makes you feel like you have to.  When it comes from another child, they get that different perspective.”

Rohan said the participants in the program are excellent readers and are enthusiastic when seeing the younger children eager to listen.

“It gives them the confidence in their own reading to be able to read out loud and be proud of it,” Rohan said.

The program, which ran for four weeks during the summer, starts out with the children meeting in the activity room with their lunches.  They enjoy their lunches while listening to a story from a special guest reader.  At the July 14 session, Wolcott teacher Lynne Markwell appeared to read the story.  She marveled over the positives in the program.

“These children get so much from listening to each other and I’m glad they are doing these kinds of programs during the summer,” she said.  “I also enjoy getting to see some familiar faces from school.  It teaches these children some good values.”

Following the read aloud, the children are split up in pairs, typically with children ages 4 to 7 being paired with a child ages 8 and up.

Children’s Librarian Deborah Roe said she continues to be pleased with the number of children who come back to the program and read to children.

“That’s the best reward, to see them come back and give back what they received,” she said.

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