Track a Truck: Parents as Teachers to hold literacy event in Purvis

By HASKEL BURNS,

The Lamar County School District’s Parents as Teachers organization is quite familiar with events like Read and Roll, which promote literacy and physical fitness to small children.

Wanting to expand on those opportunities, officials from Parents as Teachers – an early-education program offered by the school district to Lamar County parents with children under 5 years old – is hosting for the first time its “Track a Truck” event, in which children will be able to learn about various vehicles and get some reading time in. The event will be held from 3-6 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Lamar County Multipurpose Center, 99 Center Industrial Row in Purvis.

“Everything we do, even when we go into the homes and make home visits, we are all about literacy,” said Alicia Clark, who serves as a parent educator at Parents as Teachers. “So that is what this is centered around. We choose a book and try to come up with a theme around that book.”

Any family in the Lamar County area is encouraged to bring their children to the free event, which will feature official vehicles like police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and construction vehicles. Officials including police officers and firefighters will be on hand to explain their jobs to the children while they explore and learn about the vehicles.

“It’s really just a time for these vehicles to be highlighted,” Clark said. “Maybe one day they want to grow up to be a fireman, or a police officer or construction worker.”

A handful of food trucks – including one from the Oak Grove High School Culinary Arts Program – also will be on hand.

In addition, officials will read the book “How to Track a Truck” by Jason Carter Eaton to the children, and every child will be able to take home a free copy of the book while supplies last.

“We partner with the Institute for Disability Studies at USM, and they read our stories and make it really fun and interactive,” Clark said. “So they’ll go and listen to the story, and get a free book until it runs out.

“And then we’ve got some sensory things, like the water beads and sand, and we’ve got some kid-size diggers where they can dig in the sand. A couple of bins will have rubber mulch with kid-size construction trucks where they can play. So it’s really all interactive.”

Because this is the first Track a Truck event to be held by Parents and Teachers, officials aren’t sure how many attendees to expect, but are hoping for a good turnout.

“We would love for any family to come, and especially be exposed to early literacy, just to hear a story read and be exposed to books,” Clark said. “There are several families that I have been in their home, where they only have one or two books, because they may not see the importance.

“But really, all that begins from birth – the language development, and it just builds that foundation. We’d love to have 300 or more – we’d love to have anybody come and experience this.”