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Volunteer readers share stories at TLC

  • Diane Melrose reads to a group of preschool-age children at TLC Tuesday morning. Contributed photo.

  • Thomas Nelson reads "The Mixed-Up Chameleon" to a group of preschool children at TLC Tuesday morning. Contributed photo.

By Thomas Nelson,

The ability to read is a vital component of communication and comprehension, and the ability to read to children is an exercise in improvisation and patience.

On Tuesday morning Diane Melrose and this reporter read to groups of preschool children at The Learning Center, or TLC.

I read two books by Eric Carle, “The Mixed-Up Chameleon” and “The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse.”

TLC is looking for adults to read to children ages 3 to 4 around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays. The reading program has been around as long as TLC has, said Pam Ost, TLC director.

“Currently it is facilitated by Judy Hauser and Lin Sinclair and they reach out” to people, Ost said. People can reach out to Hauser and Sinclair to get involved and read, as well.

People usually read to the 3- and 4-year-olds, but there is an option to read to children as young as 2.

“Two-year-olds are more board book (based) but you can make up your own stories, and to them, it’s reading, and they enjoy people talking with them and telling the story of the book that they’re showing them,” Ost said.

Reading doesn’t involve a huge time commitment, Ost said. “It’s something you can come in, interact and know that you made that difference and go on with the rest of your day.”

Readers that sign up get scheduled a couple of months in advance. I signed up in early February and ended up reading in late March.

“We have ladies and gentlemen that have been reading to the children for at TLC for many years, that just keep doing it year after year,” Ost said.

Readers can bring in their own books, or use the books that TLC has in its library.

Over the course of a year, at least 25 to 35 different people come in to read to the kids, Ost said. 

Anyone looking for something to read to the kids can go to the Charles City Library children’s section and ask the librarian. That’s what I did and the children seemed to enjoy my selections. 

“If people don’t happen to have books at home for their children or grandchildren, the Charles City Library is the best place to go,” Ost said. “They’ll help you choose according to age level.”

Having books with a lot of big colorful photos is a good idea.

“The kids like the superheroes, and anyone they might be familiar with,” Ost said, such as Sesame Street Characters. 

TLC gets a crate of books each month that is checked out to the day care from the library, Ost said, adding, “TLC does a lot with the library.”

The reading program is only one of many different opportunities for people to volunteer and help at TLC. “There are many other needs that we have,” Ost said, but “the reading program is by far our most outstanding.”

Anyone interested in volunteering and interacting with the young people of Charles City should give TLC a call, Ost said.

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