The Delta Health Alliance

DCPC Literacy Coalition Week

Posted on: April 29, 2019

Shambria Chillis wants to pass on her love of reading to her children. She knows that the simple act of watching her read can have a profound influence in their lives.

“Skylar is a kindergarten student at Leland Early Learning Institute,” Shambria explained. “I want to encourage him to read more and instill the love of reading in his life.”

To assist Shambria and other parents in sharing that love of literacy, the Delta Health Alliance (DHA) recently sponsored a Literacy Coalition Week through its Deer Creek Promise Community (DCPC). It was a week focused on generating excitement about reading that hopefully will last a lifetime.

For five days in March, the DCPC Literacy Coalition team offered platforms for “guest readers” to come into the classroom for reading adventures. Highlighting author Eric Carle, the itinerary included:

  • Monday – Moms/family as guest readers reading “Today is Monday.”
  • Tuesday – Dads/family as guest readers reading “From Head to Toe.”
  • Wednesday – Literacy Coalition team members reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
  • Thursday – Community leaders reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear.”
  • Friday – Grandparents/family as guest readers reading “The Lonely Firefly.”

“I enjoyed seeing different volunteers involved, not just moms,” said Shambria. “It was great seeing dads, grandparents, and community members get excited about reading to students. The volunteers seemed to enjoy it as they saw children get excited about the books and ask questions before, during and after reading.”

The DCPC Literacy Coalition is a new organization modeled after the Indianola Literacy Coalition, said Beverly Hale, DHA project director. In Indianola, the coalition is comprised of local teachers, businesses and community volunteers in partnership with the Indianola Promise Community (IPC) to provide local children with books and to encourage them to read every day.

“We feel like Indianola has been very successful and so we believe this will work well here as well,” Hale said. “But it’s not just a copycat group. For example, we’re focusing on having reading boxes in the shape of frogs with a ‘Kermit the Frog’ theme.”

Boxes will soon be placed in locations such as laundry mats and parks in Leland and Arcola, each filled with both children’s and adult books with the goal being that parents will use the materials to read to their kids, said Hale.

Down the road, the DCPC Literacy Coalition plans to have 10 such reading boxes, mostly in Leland, with one to be located along a walking trail. Places such as laundry mats will provide parents an opportunity to read to their children while waiting on their clothes to wash; time that otherwise might be wasted.

“We want to end the excuse that parents don’t have books at home to read to their kids,” said Hale. “If you want to keep one of the books you get from the boxes, you can.”

The recent Literacy Coalition Week provided young students, such as five-year-old Dekota McCray, with new visions of the world around them, attained only through the pages of the books read to them by parents, volunteers and community leaders.”

“It was so much fun,” said Dekota. “It’s good to have people read and I liked all the different people who read to us. My favorite book was ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar.’ I like to see the caterpillar eat everything.”