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Pop & Read at Stafford Pavillion
New program for young readers
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Kamaren Walthour, a Georgia Southern student, has organized a reading program for kids ages 3 to 6.

The conventional storytime is getting more interactive and Liberty County’s youngest residents are invited to the first of a new literacy program that one local woman said is needed.

The first Pop-Up & Read is 5 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Stafford Pavilion at the Liberty County Recreation Department off Highway 84. It is free and open to preschoolers from 3 to 6 years old and their parents.

Organizer Kamaren Walthour described how she partly developed the program from her experience as a Liberty County substitute teacher for two years.

“I subbed in high school, middle school and elementary school. And I came across students in high school that did not know how to read,” Walthour said, adding that she does not fault teachers, as she does not know the circumstances.

Walthour grew up as a military child and graduated from Long County High School. Now, she attends Georgia Southern University and is set to graduate next year with a middle grades education degree concentrated in science and language arts. She did some additional research and led a similar reading program last summer.

“So, I really tried to get a feel of what my community needed and I realized that reading, literature - they just need a lot of extra help,” Walthour said. “And I want to be able to provide that.”

For the event, children will listen to a story and learn basic concepts, likealphabet and number recognition.

“We use a book as a gateway to get them interested in what we’re about to learn,” Walthour said.

But it is not just a sit-down storytime, according to Walthour.

Songs, handwriting practice, crafting, a scavenger hunt and more are in store. The goal is a no-pressure, fun environment.

“They’re interacting through the whole book,” Walthour said of the children. “The room is set up in work stations, so at each station they would do a different activity. So, this week, they’ll be building a coconut tree.”

She explained the coconut tree goes along with this month’s book, “Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom.”

Walthour and her husband have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old.

“At home, we can teach them all we want, but it’s nothing like social where they can be around people their age,” she said to encourage parents to bring their children. “It’s very beneficial for the kids ‘Oh, mommy cares that I’m learning. She’s involved.’ Studies have shown that parental involvement really does increase the student’s ability to grasp concepts.”

Her plans are to hold a Pop Up & Read event every third Thursday.

She hopes to up the sessions in the spring and summer.

Currently, materials limit the event to 20 children.

Registration is required. Walthour is also looking for volunteers.

For more information, email or call Walthour at and (912) 318-1171.


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