They are small children celebrating a very big accomplishment. In just one semester, the students in the four-year-old class at First United Methodist Church Preschool in Pascagoula have read a whopping 1,000 books. Educators say fostering a love for reading now can lead to a better education later.
August Bosio's favorite book is Fire Cat.
"Because like it doesn't look like a real firefighter," said August. "It's a cat firefighter."
As a reward for their hard work, Lori Warren's class received a basket full of stories from the Bacot-McCarty Foundation. Their teacher said they're at an age where they are curious and eager to learn.
"Studies have shown that kids who are read to and who read with an adult do the best when they get to kindergarten," said Warren. "A lot of times parents believe the best thing they can do for their child is buy them all the new high-tech gadgets and toys. I'd really like everyone to realize that what you can give your child the best thing is words."
The First United Methodist Church is one of 17 preschools partnering with the Pascagoula School District to improve early childhood education.
"They're just a little bit ahead of the rest of the children," Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich said. "They are able to excel and move beyond that, so we end up differentiating instruction to meet the needs of those children who haven't had that exposure. If you build a community culture where everyone is working in that direction, it makes for a much better opportunity for children in schools."
For the children, the reason to read is simple.
"Because it's fun," Addison Foster said.
The four-year-olds have actually exceeded 1,000 books and are now up to 1,240 and counting.
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