Wee Read Program promotes early literacy in Gadsden County

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 10, 2018

QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Gadsden County community is joining with school officials to support early literacy.

Gadsden Interchange, an organization of community leaders, developed the Gadsden County Wee Read Program.

Four and five year-olds in Gadsden County are learning the fundamentals of reading. The program is designed to make sure they're ready for kindergarten.

Caressa Richardson, with Early Learning Coalition and WFSU, teaches with the program.

"They're like little sponges. They eat it up, they love it, they're excited. They even make me as a teacher more excited. You teach them something and they know it right away," Richardson said.

Nineteen students are enrolled in the first-ever four-week program. Specialists say most have never gone to Pre-K, some not even daycare.

Program Specialist Cynthia Hayes Riley said, "If we provide more tools in our homes, in our libraries to get parents interested, to let parents know how important it is even at this age, I think a lot of them will jump on board."

There are 20 volunteers who participate daily.

Charles Flowers is one of the volunteers. He's also a member of Gadsden Interchange. He said, "We're just here to help out. It's a community environment, but we didn't want any children to not have some opportunity for building reading skills and communication skills before they enter kindergarten."

Students are already looking way beyond kindergarten.

"I want to be a doctor and a teacher," said, five-year-old Ai Yonna Powell.

The program has to be working for Zy'Kius Simmons, 5, to say, "Homework makes me happy."

The summer reading program is being held at George Munroe Elementary School in Quincy.

The program ends on July 26.

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