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The Gingerbread Man connects with youth

Sgt. Ida Irby, 24th Press Camp Headquarters

Fort Bliss makes reading fun

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 3:56am

Story time has long been an engaging and entertaining pastime for small children.

Lt. Gen. Stanley R. Mickelsen Library hosts a traditional story time on Tuesday and Saturday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., which is open to the Fort Bliss community. An hour-long session offers a variety of activities to connect with the military child including reading classic or contemporary books, interactive games, singing and crafts.

Stories of the Gingerbread Man were the center of the children’s attention Feb. 26, as they clapped and sang with four members of the Military Child Education Coalition.

MCEC is a nonprofit organization comprised of military parents and guardians who promote partnerships within school districts to provide networking opportunities at Fort Bliss. They work together to schedule 12 or more workshops each month in the community.

During the hour, Cara Pelini read from the book “Maisy Makes Gingerbread” by Lucy Cousins, which was followed by an arts and crafts project with a gingerbread cookie snack.

Pelini read to the children, encouraging them to join in, asking, “Can you see the gingerbread man?”

Pelini is a member of the Fort Bliss Parent to Parent team, an initiative of MCEC. She has professional expertise in improving educational experiences for children.

Diana Towery works with Meredith McKenzie, director of the children’s programs at the Mickelsen Library, to organize mentally stimulating activities for children in early stages of development.

According to McKenzie, when children are exposed to reading before they enroll in school, they will be more successful; because literacy is an essential part of education that begins before children enter kindergarten.

“Story time is an educational and socializing outlet for preschool-age children,” said McKenzie.

Although the suggested ages for the program are six and under, various ages are welcome to participate.

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