COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Learning to read at a young age has been one of the major precursors of success in life, according to many education experts. For the past two years, more than 3,000 pre-school children who attend the Malvern School in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been living proof of the power of literacy. Each semester these pre-school children listen to Mrs. Bush reading some of the country's best-loved children's books, then work on activity plans that encourage their cognition and creativity.
Last April, the Malvern School and the Bush Library decided to work together to bring Story Time activities to young children in the College Station area, as well as to teachers and librarians across the United States. At the Library, docents host the events, while the complete activity plans for which the programs are based, can be downloaded for free on Malvern's web site. The programs are conducted by reservation, and, according to Dr. Shirley Hammond, head of education at the Bush Library, pre-school teachers are encouraged to take advantage of this "one-of-a-kind educational opportunity."
"We are so thrilled to partner with the wonderful people at the Malvern School, and we're ready for teachers to bring their students here to take part in these fun and educational activities," Hammond said. "Not only do the children love hearing Mrs. Bush read to them, but each child also learns about what a First Lady does, and gets to experience a little part of history at the same time."
According to Kristen M. Waterfield, president and COO of the Malvern School, Mrs. Bush has had a "tremendous impact" on thousands of students who attend her private, pre-school. "Since we first created our activity plans, and with Mrs. Bush's encouragement, we have literally seen our children develop not only better reading skills, but learn important civics lessons, as well," she said. "The programs we developed with the Bush Library were based on the success of our classroom experiences, and we want to encourage all pre-school teachers and librarians to visit our web site, download them for free, then use them as they see fit in their own classroom environments."
The former First Lady continues to be a tireless champion of family literacy, recently naming two of her own children - Jeb and Doro - as co-chairs of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which she started while still living in the White House. During that time, she teamed up with ABC Radio Networks and the Children's Literacy Initiative, to create a radio show with the sole mission of encouraging young children to read, and involve the entire family in the process. After leaving the White House, the Mrs. Bush's Story Time tapes were packed away in boxes until the Malvern School approached Mrs. Bush to see if she would be interested in bringing them back to life.
"When I visited the Library last year to present our literacy awards and to help announce our partnership with the Malvern School and the Bush Library, I was very touched by the response. I would have never believed that Mrs. Bush's Story Time could have such an impact on the Malvern students, but I'm so glad it did. And, I want to encourage teachers and children to visit the Library and see for themselves," said Mrs. Bush.
"We can't thank Mrs. Bush enough for allowing us to take Story Time and use it as the basis for teaching our pre-school children in a very creative way," added Waterfield. "She continues to inspire us every day through her belief in service to others."
For more information on Mrs. Bush's Story Time programs at the Bush Library or to make reservations, visit: www.bushlibrary.tamu.edu or call: (979) 691-4000. To download the free activity plans, visit: www.themalvernschool.com.
SOURCE Malvern School