By Bonnie Leung
Do you like green eggs and ham? How about reading?
This July and August, Students for Literacy will share the joys of reading with children across Calgary through the Dr. Seuss in the Park program.
According to Coordinator Kerry Parker, Dr. Seuss in the Park is an excellent way to share reading with children.
“We have a reading tent,” said Parker. “[Volunteers] just sit and they read to children. It can either be one on one, in reading circles, or the children can read to the volunteers. If parents want to come in and read to their kids, that’s allowed obviously.”
Dr. Seuss in the Park also aims to entertain children.
“We have a puppet theatre and we make puppets out of the characters from the book,” said Parker. “What we’re trying to do is incorporate reading with fun activities.”
Dr. Seuss in the Park volunteer Marija Susnjar hopes to inspire literacy.
“It’s something I strongly believe in,” she said. “I really believe literacy is something that needs to be encouraged and I think the best time to start is when they’re children.”
Parker believes Dr. Seuss in the Park creates an enjoyment of reading in children while they’re still young.
“A big problem we find with adults we tutor in literacy is that early in life they were instilled with either hating reading, hating school, or hating the traditional reading environment,” she said. “So what we try to do is incorporate some crafts, and different fun activities the kids like with reading so they enjoy it.”
The program also offers university students volunteer experience during the summer.
“We’re finding volunteers are really looking for experience with kids,” said Parker. “During the summer, the best thing for us to do for the volunteers is to give them a really fun active outdoor activity and reading with the kids is perfect.”
Dr. Seuss in the Park is connected with Frontier College, a national organization that encourages literacy in Canada. According to the Alberta Provincial Coordinator Lisa Marie Bossert, Frontier College is excited to have Dr. Seuss in the Park as one of its growing programs.
“Frontier College is a national, non-profit literacy organization that is based in Toronto,” Bossert said. “Frontier College has many different programs working with people of all ages-Students For Literacy is one of those programs. We have SFL groups on 36 university campuses in Canada right now.”
Bossert added Dr. Seuss in the Park is aimed at downtown Calgary, an area where literacy is not highly stressed.
This is the fourth year Dr. Seuss in the Park will be running.
“We did have a lot of coverage and a lot community interest,” said Parker. “We decided to continue Dr. Seuss throughout the year and we held a reading circle at Christmas, Hallowe’en and on Valentine’s Day. It seems to keep growing.”
Dr. Seuss in the Park will be held every Saturday, from 11 a.m.4 p.m. at Riley Park on 8 Ave. and 12 St. n.w. For more information, call Kerry Parker at 220-3092.