In my first Grant post, I laid out the aspects of athletics and assimilation in the events that I organize for children at a local center for immigrants in Amersfoort. While most kids at their age associate summer with eternal fun, my first post described my efforts to provide such fun through games and activities. In this grant post, however, I elaborate on the academic activities I organized such as reading aloud.
As soon as school officially ends, children at this center are suddenly exposed to 6 weeks of free time. However, their parents often do not have adequate resources to facilitate activities such as playing games and reading that always makes my summers fly by. In addition, scientific research has shown that reading throughout the summer helps children keep up their reading skills. Thus, by reading aloud for these children, I hope I can combine entertainment with meaningful education.
I chose one of my favorite childhood books, Fantasia by Geronimo Stilton, as the first book to read aloud for them. While the real author is Elisabetta Dami, the book is written from the perspective of a mouse, Geronimo Stilton, who writes about his adventures in Fantasia land. Not only did reading it aloud bring back many memories for me, but we even learned from it together. For example, Geronimo reiterated to us the importance of integrity as he highlighted the importance of telling the truth when he writes about his adventures in his notebook. After I finished reading, we automatically started to discuss lessons like these. Seeing these young children listen and engage so attentively was not just fun and rewarding, but also very illuminating. I specifically learned that sharing stories is a powerful tool of communication that can transcend gender, age and cultural boundaries. When I return to campus, I hope I can utilize these experiences in our discussions about our community read Homegoing and other summer reading books.
As I continue to work with these children throughout the summer, I plan to use the Workman family’s grant, for which I am very grateful, to provide more academic tools like books. This way, I hope to make a lasting impact on these children – even when I am not physically there.