The students attending the University of La Verne on Saturday were not the usual college-aged men and women.
Parents and their children became the students as they participated in the third annual Family Literacy Fair last weekend.
The main purpose of the fair is to build a bridge between home and school by teaching parents new strategies to help their children with reading, writing and speaking skills. The children ranged from preschool to third grade.
“It’s a collaboration. We’re bringing the community together for the needs of young children and their families,” Assistant Professor of Education Cindy Cary said.
The first part of the learning process was for parents to participate in workshops. They chose one workshop to attend while their children went to childcare.
Each parent chose from eight workshops to participate in with each workshop offering a different skill for the parents to learn.
For example, one workshop taught parents how to read wordless books.
They were required to participate in only one workshop.
When the workshop session concluded, the parents were reunited with their children.
This was the adult’s opportunity to practice what they had learned with the children. They participated in a learning activity that the parents had to guide the children through.
One group read a book about the life cycle of a butterfly and then had the children recreate the cycle on paper using noodles, rice and glue.
“It’s been wonderful and very enlightening,” participant Judy Greeran said. She attended the fair with her granddaughter, Breanna Wheeler.
She heard about the event through her sister Robin Carder, departmental business manager at ULV.
When the activity portion concluded, the adults and kids went to La Fetra Auditorium to watch a performance by members of Kaiser Permanente.
It was called “The Adventures of Jamie in the World of Red, the Reading Pirate.”
The last session of the day was the family games and activities portion, where families went outside and participated in different activities at various stations.
There was face painting, arts and crafts, bubbles and sunflower pots where they could plant their own sunflowers.
“I’m actually having a nice time,” Deirdre Bowie said. “I’m going to bring them back next year.” Bowie attended the fair with her son, daughter, niece and nephew.
The fair was started three years ago by Cary and Professor of Education Marga Madhuri.
They originally decided to have the event because they thought it would be a great way to celebrate the Month of the Young Child, which is celebrated every April.
They also thought it would be a fun way to bring families and the community together.
Students at the University are also involved with the fair by instructing workshops and helping with the activities.
Each year students from the liberal studies department, as well as members of the sororities and the Future Educators Club, volunteer at the fair.
“They’re always very enthusiastic about volunteering and helping us,” Cary said.
Alicia Lopez, a junior majoring in child development, volunteered to help this year.
She helped promote the event, set up and helped in the workshops.
“It’s something I enjoy and I love working with little kids,” Lopez said.
This year around 30 children attended.
Cary said the low turn-out rate could be blamed on advertising.
Although they advertised at schools and libraries, she thinks they could have done a better job.
“I guess we did not get the word out like we should have,” Cary said.
Overall the parents and children enjoyed the event and are talking about returning next year.
“And we’ll let our friends know too,” Greeran said.
Sher Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.