Families enjoy books and snacks at literacy night


Jack Belcher, Senior News Reporter

The first Family Literacy Night of Spring Quarter was on May 1 with roughly 20 children and parents in attendance. This event has been a part of CWU for close to 11 years and has given away around 1,300 books to children, according to Associate Professor Dr. Sharryn Walker from the education, development, teaching and learning department at CWU.

There are three literacy nights each quarter, with the second and third event on May 10 and 15. The event is an opportunity for CWU teacher candidates to practice their skills in a practical experience as part of the Teaching Children’s Literature class (EDLT 321) that is taught by Walker.

According to Walker, this program provides the community an experience for children and their families to attend a free event where they can enjoy books and snacks, which are also provided.

This event lets students practice their teaching skills by providing them with a practical way to apply what they have learned in the classroom.

“They [the kids] usually want their snack first, so they go and grab their snack, then they go to a reader and they sit there with them and listen to the stories that are told,” Walker said. “Before they leave, they take a book home from off the book table.”

The students pick out what book they want to read before the event starts and then the children get to pick a book  to take home.

Junior Haylee Engelhardt, was also enjoying her first literacy night decided to read “Llama Llamma mad at Mama,” until she agreed to read “Bulldozers” to 2-year-old Jethro Miller.

“Sometimes the children want to book shop, but they don’t know what book they want to take home,” Walker said. “So they grab a couple from the table and take it to a reader and ask them to read it to them just to make sure that it is the one that they want.”

Another Junior, Cassidi Laramore, decided to read “When Spring Comes” to children for her first Family Literacy Night.

“It’s great,” Laramore said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

Walker said that when the program first started 11 years ago, only one or two people showed up. Now, the event attracts around 20 people on average.

“It’s really a low key and comfortable event, we have lots of families who once they start coming, they come all the time,” Walker said. “We have one now that he was six-weeks-old when he first came and now he’s in second grade.”

The event is sponsored in part by the Diversity and Equity Center at CWU. According to assistant director Katrina Whitney, the event has been a collaborative effort with the education department. The goal of this program in Whitney’s opinion is to provide an opportunity for students to read to kids, as well as increasing the desire for kids to learn and to want to read. This is an event that is open to everyone, not just people that are associated with the university.

“This gives them [people] an opportunity to feel included in our campus community,” Whitney said.