Education Dept. launches literacy series for parents and infants – Virgin Islands Daily News

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Updated: September 26, 2022 @ 3:06 am
Yvette McMahon-Arnold

Yvette McMahon-Arnold
ST. THOMAS — The V.I. Education Department announced that its Cradle Literacy Parent Webinar Series, an interactive literacy program for both parents and young children, will kick off next week and include learning of oral language progression, storytelling, and communication development.
The series begin Thursday and according to Yvette McMahon-Arnold, state director of Instructional Development, the series is an expansion of a prior book distribution project conducted late last year, and which targeted enhancing early literacy in the Virgin Islands.
“We had a book drive and this drive started in December where we invited parents with children around two and three-years-old to just drive through two schools, one on St. Croix and one on St. Thomas, and on that drive through we provided baskets of books to our parents. We didn’t want it to just stop there. We wanted to go further, we wanted to do more” McMahon-Arnold said. “Today the opportunity that we bring to you in a continuation of that distribution of books.”
The hour-long segments will run each Thursday until Aug. 18. There will be two sessions per day, one at 10 a.m. and the other at 7 p.m. Each segment in the series will be with a consultant who would go over stages of early learning, supporting a child through reading aloud, social and emotional support for children, vocabulary building among others.
While the series is intended for parents, McMahon-Arnold said it’s also for the “babies,” especially those from birth to 3.
“We don’t want parents to just tune into the webinars. We want your babies with you, your little ones, when you tune in to these webinars,” McMahon-Arnold said.
Part of the webinars include “read aloud” segments where the presenter will engage in reading with parents and their children, sometimes from books given out in the prior distribution.
If provided books from the department in the earlier book drive, McMahon-Arnold said parents will have found books were given in both Spanish and English. This is because “we want all parents to come and feel welcome.”
“We want to stress that we open our arms wide to embrace Spanish speaking parents as well. We will have sessions in Spanish and in English,” McMahon-Arnold said.
The department’s State Director of Bilingual Education Sally Camacho, who also attended the department’s Community Connect Weekly Update on Wednesday said she was part of the book distribution and is “happy to do more.”
“Now we get to continue on with the excitement of what we have next,” Sally Camacho said.
The series is funded by a grant through the V.I. Department of Education and can be accessed by visiting the department’s website.
— Contact Bethaney Lee at 340-714-9104 or email blee@dailynews.vi.

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