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News Education Help celebrate Waldo’s 25th birthday

To help celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of the most beloved characters from a childhood series, The Western Mountain Reading Council, Read2Me and the Macon County Public Library are teaming up to throw Waldo a birthday party.

On Saturday, Nov. 3, from 1 until 2:30 p.m. parents and children, birth to five years old are invited to the Macon County Public Library to celebrate Waldo's 25th birthday. Children will be invited to participate in the Where's Waldo hunt through the library; story time with Read2Me’s Ralph the Therapy Reading Dog; and other great Waldothemed arts and crafts.

While children are involved in all the free activities planned, parents will be invited to participate in parent training sessions lead by the Western Mountain Reading Council to learn easy, effective reading activities to use at home.

“Western Mountain Reading Council is pleased to partner with Read2Me by providing parents with fun activities and resources for making reading a daily activity with their young children,” said Diane Cotton with Western Mountain Reading Council. “We want parents to realize they can and should be reading to their children from the day they are born to help them prepare for success in school and simply to learn to love books. Each parent will receive an entire notebook full of enjoyable activities to use with their children.”

The library staff will be available to help familiarize families with the library and hold a sign up for library cards. “Reading aloud to small children provides a rich exposure to language. Recent studies in brain science show that rich language exposure using fun, enjoyable activities actually changes a young child's brain,” said Cotton. “Reading aloud develops neural connections and stimulates thinking skills in young children. Research proves it builds motivation, curiosity and memory. It also strengthens school readiness skills such as books handling, picture recognition, and comprehension.”

Macon County currently has 350 children enrolled in kindergarten and Pre-K programs that hold about 150, which leaves about 200 students without early education opportunities. The responsibility to account for that shortfall is left up to parents, who have to balance work and family. Read2Me works to provide working families resources to help their children be best prepared for kindergarten.

“Reading aloud to your child is the single most effective thing a parent can do to help prepare their children for success in school. Studies show that fewer than 50 percent of North Carolina children are read to every day,” said Cotton. “When a parent reads aloud to their children they are helping the children learn reading is important.

They can show their children that we read for different reasons; books tell us fabulous stories so we read for pleasure; books are full of information and teach us many new facts. When children hear books read aloud, they hear new words and learn new ways to express their thoughts and feelings. Books introduce children to new ideas, exciting animals, different people, and faraway places.”

Special door prizes donated by Books Unlimited and refreshments including a Where's Waldo Birthday cake by Creating the Occasion in Sylva will be served. All children will also be given a free book to take home provided by Read2Me.

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