Miss Tennessee 2016, Grace Burgess, made a surprise visit to MTSU’s Ann Campbell Early Learning Center Thursday, Sept. 22, to share the joy of reading with youngsters there as part of Tennessee’s Imagination Library Week.
Burgess, a senior at the University of Memphis and a longtime child literacy advocate, read “Lllama Llama Red Pajama” by Anne Dewdney and “Read to Tiger” by S.J. Fore to 3- and 4-year-olds in the “Red Room” of the center’s North Baird Lane facility, then chatted with other children and staff members during her visit.
The ACE Learning Center stop was part of a busy trip to several Murfreesboro schools and childcare facilities to share stories from the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
Tennessee celebrates Imagination Library Week each September to encourage young readers and their parents, grandparents, older siblings and relatives to share books to help the children develop listening and literacy skills needed for school.
Parton, who established the “Books from Birth” program for newborn to 5-year-old readers across Tennessee in 1996, has since expanded the free monthly book mailings across the country and into Canada and portions of the United Kingdom.
MTSU’s ACE Learning Center provides learning environments for children with and without developmental delays from age 15 months to kindergarten, allowing them to play together and learn from each other. Teachers at the center plan activities that help each child develop good communication, social, cognitive and motor skills, and reading is a big part of every day.
For more information about the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center and its work, visit www.mtsu.edu/acelearningcenter or call 615-898-2458.
— Gina E. Fann (firstname.lastname@example.org)