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Spanish classes prepare early learners

The King County Library System and the King County Library System Foundation are celebrating a literacy fiesta.

The Fiestas de Alfabetización Temprana en Español, or Early Literacy Parties in Spanish, are an eight-week series of free weekly workshops for Spanish-speaking parents and caregivers with children ages newborn to five. Each fiesta helps parents learn about early literacy and how to prepare their children for kindergarten.

The goal, program coordinator Teresa Luengo Cid said, is to make parents aware of the importance of early literacy and to prepare children for school so they are not at a disadvantage.

The “fiestas” offer families the opportunity to understand their role as their child’s first and most important teacher, and encourage them to take a proactive approach in the education of their children.

In each of the fiestas families are provided with information about early literacy, free books in Spanish, craft materials, snacks, beverages and the opportunity to socialize with other Spanish- speaking families.

Early literacy is what children need to know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. The development of early literacy skills through early experiences with books, stories, dramatic plays, talking, singing, nursery rhymes and art projects is linked to a child’s literacy development and academic success.

Research in early brain development shows that children prepare to read as early as infancy. Reading to – and with – young children is one of the most effective ways parents can support brain development and early learning skills.

Cid said the children are also engaged in learning the alphabet, letters and sounds. Trained volunteers model for parents and caregivers.

The fall fiestas are offered through December in six locations. The closest is currently taking place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Muckleshoot Library on state Route 164 just outside Enumclaw. Classes continue Tuesday and Dec. 8. Registration is not required, and Cid said the classes are set up to stand individually, so parents can come in for the final two or three without a problem. For information about the series, contact Cid at 425-369-3443, through e-mail at tlcid@kcls.org or visit the Web site at www.kcls.org/fiestas.

The next series begins in January at the Auburn library.

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