Date: November 19, 2008
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, email@example.com
PNC Students Share Life Skills With Area Youngsters
Westville – A group of Purdue University North Central students recently had a unique opportunity to work with area elementary school students and their parents to help encourage reading and literacy.
All students are future teachers in the PNC Education program and most are nearing commencement. Each was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with elementary students.
They took part in the Michigan City Area Schools Family Literacy Event. As parents attended for their parent-teacher conference, their child visited with the PNC students to participate in fun learning activities. Parents also picked up pamphlets with tips on encouraging literacy and received a free book for their child.
The literacy activities were built around the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial celebration and each PNC student visiting the schools created a presentation board featuring a life skill presented in various Abraham Lincoln children's books. The PNC students then built activities for children around these essential skills for children, such as cooperation, integrity, courage and problem solving.
Becky Vaughn, of LaPorte, taught her youngsters about perseverance. While Lincoln displayed his perseverance through walking far distances simply to borrow a book, she explained she showed today's students that they exhibited perseverance by learning to ride a bike or by mastering a musical instrument.
“At first the children didn't think they had any of these life skills, but by talking with them, we helped them understand that they have all of these important skills,” she explained.
Sarah Briggs, of Michigan City , said it was equally important for them to connect with the parents.
“The parents are role models. If the parents read with their children and model certain behaviors, then the children will pick that up,” she said.
Christina Jamison, of Valparaiso , took on the subject of bullying. The book at the center of her presentation had a character who was tall, gangly and uncoordinated, just like Lincoln . He was a target of bullies.
“Most of the kids didn't think that Lincoln could possibly be bullied, but he was,” she said. The lesson, she said, was two-fold. It was not only meant to discourage bullying by asking youngsters to look inside the person who is slightly different from them, but it also reinforced that everyone has special qualities and the ability to accomplish great things.
“I gave each student a mirror and asked them to tell me something good about themselves,” she said. “We encouraged positive behaviors by asking students to recognize how they felt when someone exhibited negative behavior. They agreed they did not like that feeling and didn't want anyone else to have those same feelings.”
Amanda Roe, of LaPorte, noted that parents were eager to take home informational pamphlets the students had prepared about literacy.
One exercise she recommended was cutting letters out of the newspaper for students to form words and phrases.
“We want to reinforce that parents do not need to buy expensive things to help their child's reading ability,” she said. “Reading the back of a cereal box, cutting letters or words from newspapers or magazines, all reinforce literacy.”