2017 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award winner
Elise May, Program Director and Developer of Creative Readers, and 9-year old Jackson Timoleon Hristoforatos accept the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of the Office of Museum Services for the Institute of Museum Services for the Institute of Museum and Library Services in an Anderson House ceremony on November 9, 2017. Photo credit: Steven E. Purcell
Creative Readers, an arts and literacy inclusion program, turns books into a multi-sensory experience for K-5th grade students offering all learners (students with and without disabilities) the ability to be challenged, motivated and successful. Using theater, art, movement and music each lesson enables participants to bring a book to life and increase their love of literature. The program also offers a space for unique learners (some of whom are not schooled with their community peers due to their disability) to socialize and work together creatively. High school volunteers are trained and paired with participants to model behavior and socialization skills offering social, emotional and academic growth for all.
Creative Readers was developed by Program Director Elise May, who creates the curriculum and facilitates sessions. It is a program of the Port Washington Public Library which receives valuable support from Port Washington SEPTA (Special Education Parent Teacher Association,) who offer administration, outreach and behavioral support .
"He wants to do this forever! Thank you so much for having such a wonderful program. I have never seen him so anxious to go anywhere. I really am so appreciative of your program." Michelle, Creative Readers parent
“…he is not only enjoying his time at Creative Readers (he cannot wait to go each week), but he is also getting the full value from the program. (His high school buddy) has gone above and beyond with (him). If what she did was entertain him and keep him safe for the hour, I would still be pleased. However, through her extra effort and dedication he has been able to thrive in the program. Ask the parent of any special needs child, seeing people like (his buddy) working and "getting through" to your child can bring you to the verge of tears.” Paul, Creative Readers parent
Leah, a high school buddy, shares, “(My buddy) has shown me how much I have to give and offer others and the gift of encouraging him to love reading. Creative Readers provided me with training so that I could understand what life is like for a child who has special needs. It provides such an incredible forum to let the children express themselves in theatrical ways, to become more comfortable in social situations, and to see books in a less threatening light.”
The pleasure and magic of books and reading was renewed for my child by Creative Readers as the genuine enthusiasm of their young mentors and the supervisors approached literature from a unique multi-disciplined approach. By coupling theater, art, etc. into their reading program, characters and themes are inventively brought to life. For a number of children who suffer from reading deficits, reading can be, sadly, not only a challenge but an arduous chore, which, in turn, restricts a child's true capabilities; creative readers counters that by approaching reading from a fresh new angle. Their approach should undoubtedly be incorporated into all school programs. I thank you for rekindling my son's love of books and hope that you are able to reach and inspire many more children.
Theresa, Creative Readers parent
Check out our other *Library Programs.