Learning to read begins long before a child enrolls in school. It begins at birth, if you want to get technical, and it's first fostered by parents and caregivers sharing books with their kids. That's why the History Colorado Center, as part of its mission to build a better Colorado, hosts special story-telling times for children ages two through five.
Experts have identified five early literacy practices that every child needs in order to be able to read, listen and write. Reading together is the most critical of these, and it's an effective way to help children become proficient readers by developing vocabulary, comprehension and the general knowledge needed to understand other books and stories when they are older.
"That's why our education department chose to add this type of programming to our offerings, because the research is there that learning to read before kindergarten is critical to a child's ability to read to learn," says History Colorado's Alison Salutz.
Statstics and expert advice are all well and good. But let's be honest: if you really want to engage a child, you have to make it fun. And that's exactly what the folks at History Colorado are doing.
In an effort to bridge knowledge and play, History Colorado, in partnership with the Denver Public Library, will hold its next storytime on Wednesday, November 5 at its Destination Colorado exhibit. Young scholars will hear a story about farms, cowboys and animals. Then they'll have a very special before-hours playtime in the center's 5,000-square-foot exhibit, which chronicles the people who homesteaded and settled the town of Keota along the Prairie Dog Express railroad line.
While learning about the quintessential Coloradans who built our town, kiddos can shop from a Montgomery Ward catalogue and select goods from a general store or take a virtual ride down a bumpy country road in a Model T Ford. They'll also explore smells hidden in an authentic stove, milk a model cow and collect wooden chicken eggs in the barn before climbing into the hayloft and sliding down.
The program is free for kids five and under, $10 for adults. Reservations are not required. For more information, visit History Colorado's website.
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