Mother Phonics and her Family Live in a Shoe: Reading with Puppets is the name of a new program being implemented and studied at Augusta State University’s Literacy Center.
According to Paulette Harris, director of ASU’s Literacy Center, the program is geared to helping children four to six years old learn phonics by using alphabet puppets.
“Every Wednesday afternoon working with tutors, children in this program get the chance to play with puppets and use other learning materials to enhance their reading ability,” said Harris. “We are excited to have the opportunity to offer this program at our center, and we know it will be beneficial to our community.”
The center’s new Reading with Puppets program was created several years ago by ASU alumna Linda Smith. She says her idea of a phonemic approach to reading began as a class project when she was a student at Augusta College. Now, some 25 years later, Smith says she continues to use alphabet puppets in her class at Edgefield First Baptist Church’s God’s Little Angels pre-school.
“As teachers, we are always looking for fun and creative ways to help children learn. So I took my idea of alphabet puppets to my students, and I have discovered that the children not only enjoy playing with the puppets, but they are learning how to read,” said Smith. “I was very honored to know Dr. Harris wanted to begin offering the program at the center, and I believe it will be a great asset to the public.”
In an effort to promote research at the center, Harris has allowed several graduate students in ASU’s special education program to conduct a diagnostic prescriptive reading study to monitor the progress of the children. Harris says the qualitative study will be conducted throughout the 2012 fall semester and the 2013 spring semester. Results are expected to be available by the summer.
“Although we are in the early stages of this process, we have begun to receive positive responses from the children and the parents,” said Harris. “We have a good feeling that the Reading with Puppets program is something we will more than likely continue offering at the center.”