HAYS, KS -- A new summer program for children, Fun In The Sun, is being offered at the Herndon Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic on the Fort Hays State University campus. The program will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 29 to July 27 at the clinic's new facilities in Albertson Hall.
Two sessions are being offered: Session 1, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. for children who will be in the first or second grade this fall, and Session 2, from 10:30 a.m. to noon for children who are 4 to 5 years of age.
The sessions will include individual and group activities such as games, art, singing, and computer programs which have been designed both to appeal to the interests of young children and to improve their speech, language and reading potential. Included with this program will be instruction for parents on how to enhance children's learning potential at home.
"With today's busy lives, it is sometimes difficult for parents to find the time to read to their children," said Dorothy Fulton, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at FHSU. "However, studies have found that storybook reading by parents to children is critical and has been shown to dramatically improve the speech, language and learning patterns of children."
A study in progress by FHSU communication disorder's graduate student Mary Ahren is researching the benefits of parents and children reading together.
"Parents play an invaluable role in teaching their children to read," said Ahren. "Past research has shown that those parents who allow pauses, include lots of expression, and give significant praise add significantly to a child's positive reading experience."
The study was undertaken with the help of Head Start and five families in the Ellis County area. The informal findings of the study will be presented to the public at Lincoln Elementary School on May 23 at 11 a.m. in Sondra Sanger's Head Start Classroom.
"We elected to release the findings in May to celebrate Better Speech and Hearing Month," said Fulton. "Persons interested in pursuing a degree in speech language pathology or parents of young children who may be at-risk for developing communication and/or reading disorders will find the study results very interesting," she said.
Fulton said the study spurred the idea of creating a summer learning program at FHSU's Herndon Clinic for children who may be at-risk for communication or reading problems. The children who would most benefit from the summer program include those who have difficulty saying sounds correctly, understanding the meaning of words, rhyming words, and remembering or following directions and routines.
The cost is $56 for the four-week program. A limited number of scholarships are available, which will be filled by need on a first-come, first-served basis.
For additional information call the Herndon Clinic at (785) 628-5530.