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Hundreds of Connecticut Children to Participate in Innovative Literacy Program

HCC-Hoopoe Books Project Involves 18 Preschools in Fairfield & New Haven Counties

BRIDGEPORT – More than 600 Connecticut children in Fairfield and New Haven counties, many of them at-risk, will participate in an innovative literacy program this winter and spring that features a cast of centuries-old characters from halfway around the world.

The program is built around five titles from Hoopoe Books’ award-winning series of illustrated traditional stories from Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Middle East, collected and adapted for children by Afghan author Idries Shah. Books, home literacy kits and curriculum are provided by Hoopoe’s Share Literacy program (www.shareliteracy.org), which since 2000 has provided these materials at no cost to more than 110,000 at-risk children and their families nationwide, through literacy partner programs.

Hoopoe Books (www.hoopoekids.com) is a nonprofit children’s publisher founded in 1998. Its stories, told continuously for many centuries, have been praised by educators and psychologists for their ability to help develop higher-level thinking skills in both children and adults.

More than 40 teachers from 18 Connecticut preschools will attend monthly workshops at Housatonic Community College (HCC), where they will learn the most effective ways to use these unique stories with preschool children to promote literacy and thinking skills. The workshop series began January 25 and will run through May, with each workshop devoted to a different Hoopoe title.

The participating preschools will receive Hoopoe teacher activity guides, as well as books for each classroom and a DVD to show to parents. Children will each receive two home literacy kits that include a book, an audio CD of the story, and a newsletter for parents that promotes reading activities at home.

“Parent involvement in reading with their young children is a significant indicator of success," says HCC Early Childhood Education Coordinator Laurie Noe. “Our workshops place a big emphasis on the home-school connection.”

“For many of these children, this will be the first book they've ever owned,” says Hoopoe director Sally Mallam. “Having their own book to take home goes a long way to developing a love of reading, which paves the way for future success.”

The preschools participating in the HCC-Hoopoe literacy program are: Housatonic Community College Early Childhood Laboratory School (Bridgeport), Busy Beaver (Bridgeport), New Canaan Nature Center (New Canaan), Weston/Westport Family YMCA (Westport), Earthplace (Westport), Helen King Reynolds (Stratford), CES Preschool (Trumbull), Room to Grow (Norwalk), The Learning Community (Westport), Lee’s House Daycare (Monroe), Christ & Holy Trinity (Westport), Naugatuck Head Start (Naugatuck), Peace of Mind Family Child Care (West Haven), Green’s Farm Nursery School (Westport), Bulls Head Hollow Head Start (Bridgeport), Cesar Batalla Child Care Center (Bridgeport), ABCD Inner City Children’s Daycare Center (Bridgeport) and Naramake FRC Preschool (Norwalk).

This program is made possible through the support of The Will J. Reid Foundation, Learning Resource Associates, Hoopoe Books' Share Literacy program and Housatonic Community College.