Hattiesburg Target Hosts Read Across America

By BUSTER WOLFE,

The Lamar County School District’s Parents As Teachers group and the local Target store teamed up to entertain and teach some of the area’s youngsters last week when the business hosted the annual Read Across America celebration.

Six stations were set up around the store’s aisles that asked children to get their photo taken, play with slime as they listened to Pete the Cat, dig in the sand and rubberized dirt, listen to a storybook and sample different kinds of food.

Becky Hurston, coordinator of Parents As Teachers, said the Read Across America event went well.

“We used a lot of different books during the Read Across America,” she said. “Each child had a passport that they could have punched at each of the six stations around the store. This let parents see what was being offered for their children.”

The Lamar County Center for Technical Education’s Teacher Academy students manned the stations, along with groups from Pearl River Community College, United Way of Southeast Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi. The Hattiesburg Kiwanis Club provided funds so that each child could get a book to take home.

Nicholas Adams, Target Executive Team Leader for Human Resources, said he was pleased with the response to the event. This was the first time Target had hosted it.

“The Read Across America event was a lot more successful than we had planned,” he said. “Partnering with Parents As Teachers made the event really good. We usually do something for Dr. Seuss’ birthday, but it was on Saturday. So we joined together to put on the event Friday. We still kept the photo booth for Saturday’s birthday party and we had a giant copy of ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ that we read.”

Adams said the Read Across America was a win-win for the store.

“Having the six stations around the store did open up the opportunity to see more of the store,” he said. “Each of the children carried a ‘passport’ with them and that helped them see different things.”

Hurston said the group has more activities planned throughout the year.

“We concentrate on early childhood education and are a part of the Lamar County School District,” she said. “We deal with literacy and helping children prepare for school.”

The Parents As Teachers plans to hold its Roll and Read event May 1 at Optimist Park.

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