Education Blog

WILL-TV’s Book Mentor Project Starts Another Year Singing


Heather Culbertson reads "A Farmers Life For Me" to children at the Champaign Head Start facility.

With the start of the new school year comes the beginning of a new reading cycle for WILL- TV’s Book Mentor Project, a partnership between WILL, PNC’s Grown Up Great program and Champaign County Head Start. What this means for the children in Champaign County’s Head Start program is a new line-up of wonderfully engaging books that take them on adventures to small farms, big cities and even other countries. This year there are seven books that they get to discover with the help of our volunteer book mentors. The children get to experience these adventures as many times as they’d like because what being part of this program means is that not only do they get to hear the story read aloud in their classroom, but they also get their own copy to add to their collections at home.

Last week we kicked off the program with the book, A Farmers Life for Me, by Jan Dobbins and Laura Huliska-Beith.  The story allows the children to take a look into a day in the life of a family that lives on a farm. It takes them through the chores that must be performed to keep the farm in good shape.

There are many ways for your child to interact with the book while it is read aloud to them. It provides opportunities to put your child’s counting skills to the test as well as their observation skills. As you follow the family in their daily activity there are many different things that they encounter from chickens to cherry trees. You can stop the story and ask your child questions such as: How many cherry trees do you see? How many chickens are laying eggs?

A neat and unique characteristic about this book is that there is a cute song that accompanies the story and allows children to sing-along. We were able to see firsthand at the Head Start in Champaign how enthused the kids were to not only experience the story but become part of it while singing along. They were singing along at the top of their lungs which made the mentors feel that they were really paying attention to the words they had been reading earlier. Knowing that you have a child’s full attention is such an amazing feeling. Each book comes with a CD that holds the song but if you are on the go and forget it don’t fret. There is a link that is provided on each book that takes you to the books publishers’ website that provides the song and story in a video format.

There is no doubt that this year is going to be so rewarding not only for the children but also the mentors. They are already looking forward to next month’s book where one of their old friends comes back to help them discover that everything in life takes on a specific form.