Head Start Guest Reading Event a Success
The Guest Reader program was brought to the Orange County Head Start classrooms more than 22 years ago by Literacy Coordinator with Orange County Head Start Katie Finnerty. Katie loved reading and books so much she encouraged everyone around her — staff, parents and children — to read. The program was initially started as a week-long event and grew so popular that it evolved into a month-long celebration.
It is a favorite time of year for children, teachers, parents and staff. The event usually generates 500-plus volunteers in our centers, including elected officials, local athletics representatives such as those from Orlando City Soccer Club, Orlando Magic, and the best guest of all — our Head Start parents.
“We are so excited about the enthusiasm our Head Start families share for the reading program. It is a fantastic way for families and community partners to connect and encourage early reading,” said Sonya Hill, Head Start division manager and director.
Orange County Head Start community partnerships increase yearly partly because one volunteer decided to come read to classes and fell in love with the children and the mission of the Head Start program. Research shows that reading to young children sets them up to succeed and that reading develops a child’s imagination and creativity.
Photo Caption: Sam Fowler, Member Services representative for Orlando City Soccer, reads to the Head Start Class at Callahan Center as part of the Guest Reader program.