State Representative Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville), along with fellow House legislators and staff, joined students at the Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis to read to students as part of a bipartisan House service day.
The Shepherd Community Center is dedicated to supporting impoverished children in the fight against poverty. House members brought their favorite children’s books to read to underprivileged kindergartners and first and second grade students at Shepherd Community. Rep. Mayfield brought with her numerous books that she read to each of her children when they were young including, “Berenstein Bears on the Moon” by Jan and Stan Berenstein, “Put Me in the Zoo” by Robert Lopshire and “Policeman Small” by Lois Lenski.
“The reading skills that students develop in the classroom lay an essential foundation for future success, and the earlier they can learn those skills, the better,” said Rep. Mayfield. “Today, I read to kindergarten and first-grade students, which they clearly enjoyed. More importantly, they chose their favorite book and read to me.”
Children living in poverty are more likely to be further behind their peers when they begin their K-12 education. These children are less likely to be enrolled in pre-K programs or have meaningful educational experiences prior to entering kindergarten. A child in an impoverished family is read to an average of 25 hours before they start kindergarten, compared to an average of 1,000 hours for children of middle-class families.
“I cannot stress enough the importance and the benefits of parents and caregivers reading to pre-kindergarten age children,” said Rep. Mayfield. “Today was about giving back to Indiana and Hoosier students. Volunteering today at the Shepherd Community Center was just a small glimpse into the great work that this organization does day-in and day-out, but even in a small way, it was a humbling experience to be a part of.”
More information about Shepherd Community Center can be found on their website at www.shepherdcommunity.org.