Clara Harper Maiden, a single mother whose amazing daughter Zen Kweli has read 1,000 books by age 6, is now teaching skills to read at LCCC’s Mini-Versity Downtown (MVD) early childhood development center at 306 Roy Wilkins Avenue.
Maiden utilizes the same teaching approach with her students that she used to teach her daughter Zen. As she reads out loud to her students, Clara points to the larger print by an illustration of each child’s book. As a result, the students are learning techniques that help them to better grasp each printed word and associates it in their minds with each picture.
The net effect of this approach is helping her students increase their vocabularies. One boy at the center, Trevion Williams, is learning new words very quickly and helping his younger classmates “catch on” as well. In her first month since joining MVD, Maiden’s students have read 28 books. Her goal for each 3-year-old in her class is to have read 1,000 books in preparation for kindergarten.
Clara Maiden’s daughter Zen loves to read now regularly uses harder words like “frustrated” or “positively” in her normal everyday speech. Maiden believes her MVD students will learn to read many new words.
“We needed a teacher for our 3-year olds who is passionate about kids learning. We hired Clara Maiden for a number of reasons including her demonstrated success in teaching her own daughter to enjoy reading,” said Pam Johnson, MVD’s center director.
“Learning to read and write is critical to a child’s success in school and in life. Helping children value and appreciate reading cannot begin too soon,” said Sam Watkins, Jr., president of LCCC.
Mini-Versity Centers are the highest state rated centers in west Louisville. Founded in 1948, Louisville Central Community Centers (LCCC) is a community-based family strengthening organization that serves over 3,000 persons from 750 low-income, disadvantaged families annually with services including early childhood education, youth education and development, workforce development, financial literacy and home ownership counseling.