“My Cousin Momo” celebrates reading with local students

Week of the Young Child culminates with read-aloud and books for 600 students

Today, cousin Momo payed a visit to more than 600 pre-k and kindergarten students around the region.

Kindergarten classes and pre-k centers in Westmoreland, Armstrong and Greene counties took part in a combined reading activity hosted by United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania to celebrate the final day of the national Week of the Young Child. The celebration included a simultaneous read aloud of the book “My Cousin Momo” by Zachariah OHora.  

“Early literacy development is critical to a child’s future success, and we organized this event to promote that development and also enhance the early literacy work United Way is already doing with our school partners and communities,” said United Way education program manager Jesse Sprajcar.

Participating schools and pre-k centers included: Apollo Ridge Elementary School, Grandma’s House Childcare Apollo, Small World Daycare Apollo and Jenn’s Playcare in Armstrong County; Mt. Pleasanat Area School District, Frock Childcare, Head Start Donegal and Beginnings and Beyond in Westmoreland County; and Jefferson Morgan School District in Greene County.

Following the read aloud, classes discussed the book and completed group activities. In addition, every student received a take-home copy of “My Cousin Momo” with a parent activity guide, and classrooms received a copy for their classroom library, along with a teacher resource guide.

All participating school districts and pre-k centers partner with United Way year-round in their kindergarten transition program, which brings together school leadership, teachers and parents to plan activities that will ease the transition process for incoming kindergarten students and their parents, and ensure curriculum is aligned between pre-k and kindergarten classrooms.

“We work extremely hard to ensure our children have high quality books in their homes and that our region’s early childhood education professionals are working together to provide learning opportunities across the birth to third grade continuum,” said Sprajcar.    

“My Cousin Momo” is the 2018 selection of Pennsylvania’s One Book, Every Young Child program, a collaboration between Pennsylvania’s departments of education, human services and conservation and natural resources, plus several community partners. The program highlights the importance of early literacy development in pre-k students and the significance of reading early and often to children.

United Way collaborated with the One Book, Every Young Child program, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Richard King Mellon Foundation and the Patton Family Foundation – BNY Mellon to coordinate today’s event.