December 2, 2014

BY TERI CAMPBELL
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE - The students in John A. Logan College’s ECE 260 Parent Involvement class recently hosted 22 local children and their parents for an evening of food, fun, and entertainment at the Ninth Annual Family Reading Night at the college. 

Dr. Marilyn Toliver, professor of early childhood education at JALC, started having the event in 2006 as a service-learning project for her students.  

“My students were responsible for planning, organizing, and implementing the event,” Toliver said.  “They selected the theme and decorations and organized all the activities and games for the kids.  They worked on this project throughout the semester, and it was a valuable, hands-on learning experience for them.  They did a good job and I was happy with the way everything turned out.”

“A Night of Music” was the theme for this year’s event. 

“This was the first time we had a musical theme, and many of our activities centered around music,” Toliver said.  “Children were able to make musical instruments such as tambourines, banjoes, and drums.  We had an area where they could dance to music, an area for our musical book walk, and an area for playing limbo.”

The special guests at the event were members of the JALC Choir who provided entertainment.

“Six members of the choir volunteered their time and came and sang to the children while one played the guitar,” Toliver said.  “They performed action songs and the children sang along with them.  It was really nice.” 

Toliver said Family Reading Night promotes the importance and enjoyment of reading books to children, and every child went home with three or four books.   

“We collected about 100 books to give to the children,” Toliver said.  “The students solicited businesses and organizations for donations to use as door prizes, and the John A. Logan family came through with many generous contributions.  Thanks to all that support the children all received goody bags stuffed with treats in addition to the books.”

The event is coordinated in conjunction with the Logan Preschool to provide a parent involvement event for the children who attend there.

“I think this is a fantastic event,” said Cheryl Stearns, Pre-K facilitator at Logan.  “Dr. Toliver and her students do a great job organizing it, and our children and their families really enjoy it.  It gives the parents a night out with their kids that includes a free dinner.  There are activities set up for the children to participate in and the parents can join in and see what kinds of things their children are learning in the Pre-K programs.”