Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy is serving nearly 600 local children ready to begin their journey in education.

While 3-year old students in teacher Paula Hunter’s and C.J. Sowell’s class will be working on rules and procedures the first couple of weeks, they also got to experience a very special visit to the library.

“Teaching routines is important,” Hunter said, “But, we also want to ignite and inspire their curiosity of literature.”

The library, one of MSELA’s premiere learning labs, is run by library aide Stacy Tomblin-Weaver.

“The library is an essential part of our school environment,” Tomblin-Weaver said. “It’s important to give the kids access to literature early on in order to build not only a love of language, but reading as well.”

The school’s interactive literacy library, which was updated last spring, is complete with centers, alternative seating, iPads, and more. The students are able to sit and enjoy reading a book in a variety of ways including rocking chairs, couches, bean bags and reading benches

The center themes are based on the book of the week. The teachers select a book and plan activities to reinforce the storyline. The library aide reads the book to the students and they then go to different centers with activities to reinforce the story.

For example, in the Imagination Center, students have access to props that mimic the story line and they are able to record each other acting out the story using small video cameras. After recording their stories, the students can share them with their classmates.

Early childhood literacy begins in preschool which is why the Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy’s library is so important, said principal Mary Derrick.

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