LaPlace Elementary hosts Free Weekly Family Reading Program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Press Release

LAPLACE – LaPlace Elementary School is offering area families with children ages six and older a free reading program at 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday between now and March 24.

The program is titled “Prime Time Family Reading Time,” and it focuses on reinforcing the family by training parents and children to bond around the act of reading.

“The program encourages parents and children to read and discuss history, literature, and ethical issues, such as fairness, greed, honor and trickery,” said program co-coordinator Shayla Weier, a first-grade teacher at LaPlace Elementary.

“The program is also designed to foster high academic expectations and achievement within many of our families,” she said. “Families can come together and become stronger through this program.”

Weier and fellow program coordinator and first-grade teacher Amy Gros recently completed professional development training in New Orleans, which qualified them to instruct the family reading sessions.

They received a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, which paid for the training, their salaries to coordinate and administer the program, and covered the cost of the books. Gros said each week a set of the books are sent home with the families to review and read again at their leisure. The books are returned the following week.

The weekly family reading sessions are held in the school library of LaPlace Elementary, located at 393 Greenwood Drive in LaPlace, and school volunteers provide a free meal for participating families.

This program is the only Prime Time Family Reading Program available in the River Parishes area this spring.

“The program includes a storytelling time and discussion of some of the latest award-winning children’s books now available,” said Gros. “Not only are families able to spend valuable time together in meaningful, thought-provoking discussion, they are being empowered on how to select books and be active users of our area library resources so they can continue their reading sessions throughout the year.”

She said the family reading times include reviews of fairy tales and folk tales from around the world, stories about problems children encounter and tales from history.

Each weekly session focuses on an ethical issue. For example, one session titled “Deal With It,” focuses on coping. Families share in discussion and reading of three books, “Flossie and the Fox,” “The Monkey and the Crocodile,” and “Dr. DeSoto,” which all deal with the issue of coping.

Other ethical issues spotlighted for discussion in the family reading program include fairness, greed, courage, dreams, cleverness and determination.

“We are so excited about this new program and its possibilities, as well as the initiative our teachers have shown to bring this program to our community,” said LaPlace Elementary Principal Courtney Millet, Ph.D., who is serving as site coordinator for the seven-week program.

“Our two teachers, Ms. Weier and Ms. Gros, have put in much time planning and preparing for this program. Area families will enjoy their lively presentations,” Millet said. “We hope as many families as possible throughout the River Parishes can take advantage of this free program.”