By Jasmine Willis
DANSVILLE — The point of the holiday season is to bring joy to the hearts of many.
Dansville Central held a family night event for the pre-kindergarten students on Oct. 3.
Rinker’s Readers Founder, Janelle Rinker, has been doing this event for several years now in hopes of bringing awareness to the importance of reading at a young age.
The event ‘Chika Chika Christmas’ centers around the theme of the book ‘Chika Chika Boom Boom’ by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.
“We are growing every single year. We were starting out with the four-year-olds and now three-year-olds are coming into the building. It is so awesome that the community wants to be involved in this event every year. We have support from the Dansville Public Library, Dansville ArtWorks, and Livingston County WIC,” she said. “I like them being in a different environment than they would normally see kids at. I personally like focusing on one book, since the idea is to show low income families that you don’t need 1,000 books at home. You can do so much with one book. It is important to expose them to the library too, and show them they can get books there for free.”
Rinker added that Dansville Library Children’s Director, Mary Ellen Arena has plenty of amazing ideas to bring to the program.
“We have pioneered the idea of bookpacks called playaways at our library. They come with several books and an audio reader that reads the story to the children. We have them for younger and older children at the library. They have become very popular with the youth. It is meant to develop the children’s minds and enhance their vocabulary skills,” Arena said. “We have one child that has graduated the 1,000 books program and six children that are almost there. We have about 100 children that have signed up for the program, and we are all very excited about that. These children are from one to five years old.”
Arena mentioned a few changes in the children’s section of the library. There is now a classic section geared towards the books that are hard to find or now out of print. Such as Scott O’Dell books, The Hardy Boys, old Anne of Green Gables, and old Nancy Drew books. There is also a classic picture book section starting to take form at the library.
Dansville Pre-K Teacher, Brittney Rowe, said she has done this job a couple years and has loved helping children grow.
“I think this (Rinker’s Readers) brings a lot of books to the kids who need them the most. Janelle does a wonderful job every year. It was really amazing last year. There is nothing better than bringing the Christmas spirit to children,” she said.
Dansville Pre-K Teacher, Chris Spoor, said she enjoyed bringing an activity that parents can do at home.
“This activity ties in small motor skills and the book. You take two scoops of rice and put it into a bulb, then you can pick out some letters to put in the bulb. You shake it all up and you have a Christmas ornament that allows you to look for the letters. I like hearing them talk about the colors they love to use, and their favorite letters. It is called an I Spy Ornament,” she said. “It is nice to see and interact with the students outside of the classroom. The kids need to feel like we know them outside of school. We are all a community that cares about one another.”