The sounds of children singing, jingle bells, and violin chords harmonized on a December Saturday morning at the Sarah Hightower Library children’s theater for a preschool literary event hosted by Floyd County Schools (FCS). Under the direction of FCS Support Services Specialist Dr. Vondell Ringer, parents and preschoolers joined together for Rhythm and Reading, the latest in a series of workshops by FCS designed to give parents the knowledge and tools to boost their child’s literacy success as they enter school.
With musical assistance from her son, professional violinist Tim Reynolds, Dr. Ringer conducted a fun-filled morning that delighted the children and educated the parents on simple strategies for learning, using nursery rhymes, homemade instruments, and holiday songs. She stressed the importance of reciting simple rhymes with children, as it helps to increase vocabulary and recognize patterns. Dr. Ringer also emphasized allowing children to explore rhythm and music using everyday objects, putting the lesson into play and thrilling the preschoolers in the audience by asking them to use foam plates as cymbals and keeping the beat to Mr. Reynold’s fast-paced violin chords. The children also used shakers and scarves to dance along to the violin selections that were played.
Dr. Ringer closed the workshop with a group sing-a-long and storytime. The children listened to “The Sweet Smell of Christmas” by Patricia Scarry, and were given lunches to go containing many delicious food items named in the story. The families were also given literacy kits containing nursery rhymes, a hand-selected age-appropriate book, and the manipulatives they had used during the workshop.
The FCS preschool literacy workshop series is made possible by the Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading Grant from the Georgia Department of Education. December’s music workshop was one of several hosted by FCS this year, with previous parent/child workshops focusing on preschool science, math, and reading fun, as well as parent workshops on infant and toddler vocabulary development. FCS has plans to continue the monthly workshops through the end of the year. Information about upcoming workshops will be posted on the FCS website and Facebook page.