Southside welcomes youngsters for reading

Jake Old • Updated Jan 25, 2017 at 11:00 AM

The Wee Read program held Tuesday evening at Southside Elementary School saw children ages 0-5 come together for a one-hour reading and learning session at the school.


The program, which is for the younger siblings of current Southside students, welcomed dozens of young children, who enjoyed story time and various crafts with several teachers who volunteer their time and special guest reader Mary Jean Smith, retired librarian at Southside.

Tracy Dowell and Paige Humes, teachers at Southside, head up the program, which began in December 2016 and met for just the second time Tuesday.

“We want to get these kids interested in reading, and let the parents know that reading is important from day one,” Dowell said.

Teachers make use of puppets, and at each program a special mascot appears at the end. Door prizes are also given as an incentive to get children to want to attend.

“It’s important to get them motivated to want to come through the door — and come back,” Dowell said.

The next Wee Read program at Southside will be March 28 from 5-6 p.m. in the school’s library. The theme will be “Farm Day,” and teachers will be dressed in overalls and straw hats. There are also plans to have farm-related mascots.

The program is currently only open to the younger siblings of students who are enrolled at Southside.

“We want to focus on improving Southside students, and we know they’ll come through here, because their older sibling is already here, so that helps us get a head start with them,” Southside principal Frank Tittle said.

The first program, in December 2016, saw 23 children. Tuesday’s program might have doubled that number. On March 28, Dowell said, they hope to have another big crowd.  

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