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Mercyhurst literacy project engages 300 Erie children

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kaleigh Ruggiero leads Literacy Alive project

More than 300 students enrolled in Erie City Schools will bring the pages of two classic children’s stories to life this week through an annual literacy program sponsored by Mercyhurst University. 

The 2015 Literacy Alive Project, led by the Alpha Beta Pi Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, a national education honor society, is the organization’s major annual service project. This year, members will create a “readers theater” for children in 15 classrooms from Monday, April 13, to Thursday, April 16.

Pre-K and kindergarten students will read and act out the classic Aesop fable The Tortoise and the Hare, while first- and second-graders will engage with The Lion and the Mouse. Kappa Delta Pi members selected these stories, hoping the children extract important life-lessons about perseverance, patience, kindness, tolerance and friendship.

This is the fourth year that the honor society has hosted the literacy project in the community. Members of the honor society plan the entire project from start to finish.

“These Mercyhurst students are training to become teachers, and this project allows them to refine both their teaching skills, as well as their leadership style,” said Kathleen Bukowski, Ph.D., dean of the Hafenmaier School of Education & Behavioral Sciences. Bukowski is the advisor for Kappa Delta Pi.

“The Mercyhurst Education Department has partnered with these local schools in its mission to invest in early childhood education, with literacy competence at the heart of that mission,” she said.

Each of the 300 students will take home a book, an animal notepad and a box of Crayola Crayons, a gift they will use to create masks for their performances. The new books were donated by Hooked on Books, a non-profit organization devoted to the love of reading.

“It is heartwarming to witness the enthusiasm expressed by the young learners when they receive their books,” said Bukowski. “It is also a great reward for our future teachers who experience literacy promotion in a very meaningful way. This is a real partnership that has lasting effects of all involved.”