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Think and wonder

Think and wonder

The Blugold volleyball team readied itself for the upcoming WIAC tournament by going undefeated at the River Falls Trick or Treat Tournament this past weekend. "Overall, we played very well and played together," coach Lisa Herb said. "There was a lot of trust out there and good talk amongst everyone.

The Cat in the Hat, a literacy-loving, mischievous feline made a household name by acclaimed children’s author Dr. Seuss paid a visit to Eau Claire last weekend in celebration of Seuss’ birthday.

From 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Flynn Elementary School in Eau Claire, children ages 3 to 5 got to meet the Cat himself – or rather, herself – played by senior Samantha Faber, a member of the Early Childhood Literacy Intervention Program, Services, and Evaluation, the student organization that put on the birthday event.

Faber read aloud from classic children’s books as wide-eyed toddlers listened attentively. Other activities included crafts, like a make-your-own Cat in the Hat hat station, and games.

“There are always those kids that are scared of the Cat but for the most part, when I wave to the children they all smile and get excited,” Faber said.

There were 304 attendees at the birthday party, which was held in the Flynn Elementary School gymnasium. The event was put on by ECLIPSE and the Eau Claire School District to celebrate the creativity and fun that Dr. Seuss put into reading, said junior Malory Peterson, volunteer coordinator for ECLIPSE.

“We are an early literacy intervention program and Dr. Seuss’ birthday is a great time to focus on reading with our youth,” Peterson said.

ECLIPSE, an AmeriCorps program that emphasizes early literacy and reading in Eau Claire and Altoona, put on the event to inspire learning.

“I hope a lot of learning went on during the event,” Peterson said. “I also hope the kids had a lot of fun, as it was a birthday party.”

ECLIPSE works with children who are at-risk or from low-income families, aiming to improve their skills in the areas of language, literacy, social interaction, and initiative skills.

“I hope a lot of learning went on during the event,” Peterson said. “I also hope the kids had a lot of fun, as it was a birthday party.”

ECLIPSE works with children who are at-risk or from low-income families, aiming to improve their skills in the areas of language, literacy, social interaction and initiative skills.

Similarly, a group called First Book, a national program that grants books to low-income schools for about 30 cents, inspires kids to get excited and involved in literacy, said senior Kinsey Thompson, secretary of the UW-Eau Claire chapter of First Book. Volunteers were also at the birthday party to host their annual speed read.

“I like knowing that through our literacy efforts we could be changing these children’s lives by preparing them for their future education,” Thompson said.

Students who volunteer with ECLIPSE work two sessions with the children per week for approximately two hours at a time.

The sessions consist of group time, during which the children work on social, listening and language skills, as well as one-on-one reading time with the volunteers.

“Because we are an AmeriCorps program we do a variety of service projects targeted at our at-risk and low-income families and for the
general community to better where we all live and work,” Peterson said.

This year, the group participated in Tidy Up the Town to rake leaves for those who are unable to do so themselves. Each year, the group also does a service project on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Global Youth Service Day (April 21).

“We also do Dinner and A Story evenings at our Program Partner sites for the children and families at that site,” Peterson said. “In the spring we host a Literacy Festival in Carson Park for families and kids with a pot luck picnic and more literacy games.”

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