More than a few Wake County kindergartners are gearing up for a big day this Saturday when Clever Cat, Kicking King and friends from Letterland stop at Pullen Park.
Pullen Park will turn into Letterland, the fabled region featured in a phonics program that all Wake County elementary schools and many preschools use, during a special event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, at the park near downtown Raleigh. It's free.
Wake County Public School System along with other local groups are collaborating to bring Letterland characters here. (They also have been at Tweetsie Railroad this month). Letterland brings letters to life by turning them into characters with their own personality and stories that following along with their sounds, according to a press release.
In Wake County, the program was implemented in kindergarten classrooms during the 2012-13 school year, followed by first grade classrooms during the 2013-14 school year and second grade classes in 2014-15. It has appeared to have paid off. A May 2015 report indicates the program may have helped boost some test scores and is a cost effective way to teaching kids how to read.
And Wake isn't the only one bringing Annie Apple into the classroom. Schools around the world have incorporated the program into their literacy instruction.
Saturday will feature some costumed Letterland characters, along with wooden cutouts of other characters. I took my then preschooler to this event last year. She had a blast running from one character to the next and getting to actually meet a few of them.
Here is some of what the day will hold, according to the press release:
- Children will be welcomed by Firefighter Fred and a real fire engine.
- They’ll meet Annie Apple, Bouncy Ben and Clever Cat. Children can ride on Clever Cat’s carousel and drive in one of Bouncy Ben’s boats.
- They can travel with Letterlanders on Talking Tess’s train, have their face painted with Impy Ink and make noise with Noisy Nick.
- Children can play a game of Munching Mike’s Bean Bag Toss, make Kicking King or Quarrelsome Queen crowns, join the Letterland parade, and enjoy school group performances on the large stage.
For the day, Pullen Place Café will have the special Munching Mike’s Menu with lunch and snack options.
The event is free. Rides on the carousel, train and kiddie boats are $1 each per person.