By TIM BOULWARE
Thursday morning was met with the sound of children and adults flipping pages during the 11th annual Reading in the Rotunda at the state capitol. Trina Filan, Coordinator for the Early Childhood Coalition of the Greater Helena Area underscores the importance of reading to your child early in life.
“The whole impetus of this event is the “Week of the Young Child,” Filan said. “To help families connect in positive ways with their little kids. The earlier you interact with a little child, teaching them how to read, speaking many words to them, it builds their brains. The more positive interactions parents can have with their kids the more positive their outcomes will be as teenagers and adults.”
As many as 15 readers and several hundred children participated over the two hour event and it is not just the kids who get a kick out of reading.
“The readers, they are psyched to be surrounded by all those little kids and the kids are enraptured,” Filan said. “Readers get this sense of connection and an understanding of just how many children there are in our community who are craving interactions, craving this kind of reading environment and really wanting to have an adult pay some quality attention to them.”
Brandi Thomas of the Early Childhood Coalition helped organize the event. Children were not the only ones learning, but adults too from the different groups who participated and were lined up along the hallway,
“The booths are for parents and childcare providers to get the resources they need to help with the littles, with our little kids,” Thomas said. “To help get those resources they may need, whether it be literacy resources or helping paying for childcare, or early head start.”
Besides some great memories the children will also receive another special gift.
“We had 2,000 bookbags and books that we’ll give out by the end of next week and we had them donated by the Helena A.Y.C. chapter and then just through monies by the Early Childhood Coalition,” Thomas said.
The most important part are the lessons learned will go far beyond what the kids take home today.