Lake Havasu City Police Chief Dan Doyle and Councilman Cal Sheehy were guest readers on Monday, May 22 to celebrate WACOG Head Start’s 52nd birthday with a Community Reading Day to raise awareness of the importance and far-reaching impact of Head Start.

Chief Doyle read “Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana,” a tale of a feline’s love-hate relationship with bananas, while Sheehy read two tales of mice headed off to school in “Maisy Goes to Preschool” and “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come.”

Doyle called the morning “the best part of his day.” He asked each of the students their first names and ages, and encouraged the kids to guess his age. Most of the students thought Doyle looked about seven, although one girl guessed 82.

“I’m older than 10,” Doyle revealed.

Each Oro Grande, Nautilus, and Pima Head Start student took home a copy of the book they were read courtesy of the First Things First La Paz/Mohave Region. Each book was accompanied by a Family Literacy Guide from Read On Arizona to guide parents on how to encourage literacy and learning at home. First Things First is a statewide organization that supports the health and early learning of young children ages birth to 5 in Arizona.

Early educators say that the best way to improve literacy scores for older students is to introduce children to reading at a younger age. Research shows that there is a high correlation between vocabulary size at ages three and four and language test scores in grades three and four.

“One of the best ways parents can help kids continue learning over the Summer Break are to expose them to books and lots of language at home, so sing, read, and ask them questions to help develop those basic academic and social skills,” said Lake Havasu City Center Manager Jamie Dykstra.