Children reading success starts with parents

Children reading success starts with parents

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The third-grade reading test is one of the first big education hurdles kids face, but in order to get there, kids have to be kindergarten ready. A Hattiesburg parent-educator makes sure kids are kindergarten ready by first teaching the parents.

When you watch Sarah Odom of the Hattiesbug Public School Early Childhood Center work with young kids, you can tell she is passionate about her work.

For 25 years, teaching children how to read has been Odom’s priority.

“It’s just very important to see children have the opportunity to succeed,” Odom said.

That success starts in settings like the Hattiesburg Public School Early Childhood Center in downtown Hattiesburg, where Odom is a pre-K parent-educator. She teaches parents how to work on reading skills with their children, so early on the child can do things like identify upper and lower case letters and know the sounds they make.

“And be able to write their name and already know their colors and shapes before they ever actually enter kindergarten,” Odom said.

There are everyday methods Odom teaches parents to use to make learning fun for the child.

“Through daily routine, they’re able to enhance their child’s learning,” Odom said.

Odom tells parents while they are reading to their child, ask their child questions about the story, retell the story, and find numbers around the room.

“That helps the children to build background knowledge and expand on ideas, and understand and make inferences that they need to be able to do when they reach that third-grade reading gate,” Odom said.

She said the first steps to learning start at home through simple conversation with your kids, but if parents want help making sure their child is kindergarten ready, the center has more to offer.

The Early Childhood Center for parents and children is free and open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. If you want to learn more about them and how they can help your child read and be ready for kindergarten, call 601-582-6672 or email Odom at

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