Newtown resident Ray Sipherd, who wrote scripts for the television program Sesame Street for 17 years, was featured as the first storyteller on Saturday, November 16, in the Children’s Adventure Center’s new program known as Sandy Hook Bookworms.
Mr Sipherd read from storybooks to a group of young children and their parents in a well-lit, brightly colored space at the center known as The Sunshine Room.
The Rotary Club of Newtown donated the books for the library there, which is intended for preschool students, parents, and preschool teachers.
Children, both sitting in tiny molded-plastic chairs and positioned on the floor, listened and watched as Mr Sipherd alternated between reading text and showing the illustrations in the colorful books.
During a break in the session, Mr Sipherd discussed his work on the Public Television program that is now viewed in many versions across the world.
Besides holding children’s attention with its colorful characters, the program also appeals to parents, he said.
The show is written on multiple levels in seeking to appeal to a wide age range, he said, recalling one script involving three witches that had parallels with the three witches in Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth.
“We just had a good time. It showed that learning could be fun,” Mr Sipherd said of his work for the program.
Sesame Street, which began in 1969, has grown so popular over the years that it has become an “industry,” he said.
The November 16 event was the first of a series of free storytelling sessions at the center that will be held in the coming months.
The Sandy Hook Bookworms Committee is led by Mary Steinfeld, who is a former preschool educator, along with Marie Smith, Judy Sims, Kelly Johnson, and Mae Schmidle.
The Children’s Adventure Center was established in 1969 by a group of community leaders as a non-profit organization intended to provide early childhood education for local families.