• Megann Horstead

Young School Teachers Read aims to engage children, increase literacy


School may no longer be in session for students in Homer Glen, but teachers at William E. Young Elementary School are continuing to encourage students to read.

A number of children gathered at Homer Township Public Library to listen as teachers from the elementary school read books aloud on June 24.

Young School Teachers Read is one of many programs offered at the library that aims to engage children during the summer months.

Jodi Olivieri, youth services manger at the library, said having the teachers from the Homer Glen school come in and read to the children works on many levels to attract youngsters in the community.

“There’s a really nice draw to the library,” she said, noting how the library is happy to assist children in learning how to read.

Typically, the program sees between 15 and 30 participants, she said.

Stephanie Wierenga, a first-grade teacher at Young School, was one of several faculty members reading to children. She said dropping in to read aloud to them was important to her.

“It’s always nice to see students past and future students over the summer, but it’s also nice to reiterate the importance of reading, not only during the school, but in the summer as well,” she said.

Wierenga said sharing her love for reading with children helps with literacy.

“It’s a way to show and express my joy of reading, but also to come to a beautiful library like this,” she said. “[Getting the children] exposed to books that we love to read kind of helps to grow that lifelong enjoyment for reading.”

Jane Schultz, a first-grade teacher at Young School, was also at the library reading to children. She said it’s important for libraries to have programs for the younger children and those of pre-school age, as well as for parents to be involved and bring them in.

“The only way to become a better reader is to keep reading even over the summer,” she said. “I just love to see the students and catch up and see how they’re doing over the summer.”

Schutlz said reading has always been an enjoyment for her in her personal life.

“Not only did I do it when I was growing up and then for my studies, but then as soon as I became a parent, it was very important in my children’s life as well.”

Juli Reiniche, a teacher in the Little Learners program at Young School, read aloud a selection of books at the library. She said she loves the idea of reading to the children.

“I did it because I love to read,” she said. “I love to read to young children. They’re so excited. They enjoy looking at the books. They can add comments. They can pay attention to the books and the words. I can really help them to grow as readers.”

Reinische said she lives in the community and often finds herself visiting the library. She noted that many of the stories she read are also her favorites.

“I love coming to the Homer library and sharing stories with all the kiddos in the community,” she said.

The next Young School Teachers Read event is set to take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 8, at the library.

For more information on Young School Teachers Read, go to homerlibrary.org

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