Program founder Danielle Sharp teaches children about rhyming words to warm them up for the Green Eggs and Ham reading session they were about to enjoy.
Did you know that were he alive, Dr. Seuss would have turned 103 years old on Friday, March 2? His books have entertained young readers for 50 years with his clever, repetitive rhyming words and silly stories. His first book, The Cat in the Hat, was actually written on a dare. He was to write a book that first graders wouldn’t be able to put down, and he could only use 236 elementary vocabulary words.” As she spoke, Danielle Sharp was nearly as enthusiastic about the reading session as the children her program entertained.
Kathy Theo, a member of the Lakewood First Lions Club, found the children at the Lakewood Boys and Girls Club more than enthusiastic about listening to her read from Green Eggs and Ham from Dr. Seuss.
Lakewood First Book, partnering with Lakewood First Lions Club, Caring for Kids and members of Lakewood Fire Department, read Green Eggs and Ham to approximately 55 ECEAP (Early Childhood Education Assistance Program) children as part of the Dr. Seuss’ birthday celebration. Following the reading the kids were rewarded with a badge and fire hat from the fire department, and taken outside to explore the wonders of a modern fire truck. At the end of the program each child was given a new book and knitted green egg to take home.
After reading to the kids at the Lakewood Boys and Girls Club firefighter Dave Emmons of the Lakewood Fire Department provided them with firefighter hats before taking them out to see the fire truck.
Sharp, a member of Lakewood First Lions and a former teacher, combined two of her loves, reading and knitting, to introduce preschool children to the world of books. She called on friends to help her knit “green eggs” to complement the popular Dr. Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham. That help even came from as far away as California, where her sister Sharon began knitting eggs for the project.
Stephanie Quintana and Evelyn Jimenez are clearly enjoyed exploring the fire truck’s interior.
“Visiting the library and reading books were not part of every adult’s childhood, so it’s not always comfortable for them to read to their young children. ECEAP was a great fit for us because the teachers demonstrate ways for adult care givers to read to children, as well as describing the benefits of the local library,” related Danielle. “It’s extremely important to have a connection with books before entering school.”
Danielle Sharp, who originated the program to read to the Lakewood Boys and Girls Club children hands one of them one of the knitted green eggs created by her, her California sister and friends. Another Lions member hands the child one of the books also given as gifts to encourage continued interest in books and libraries.
There could be no question as to the impression the experience made on the kids. As the adults read, the children crowded ever closer to the book-often four or five faces jammed into the space of the open pages-to get a closer look at the illustrations and follow the reading.
Lakewood First Lions member Hugh Hedges captures the attention and imagination of several children by reading Green Eggs and Ham, and letting the kids follow along with the illustrations.
Sharp was really pleased with the results and the joy expressed by the kids. “It was so successful because of ECEAP, and the fire department, and Lions members that read to the kids, they were so cool.” The sessions were at 9:30 AM and 1:00 PM at the Lakewood Boys and Girls Club where, through the windows, the staff could measure progress on the construction of the new facility.
Story and photos by Ed Kane, Freelance Graphics