Mother-daughter educators address pandemic-related literacy gap through new children’s book


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A local mother and daughter have teamed up to write a book to help develop reading skills among young learners.

Bessie Ferguson and Lashone Grimes released “Bumblebees on the Run” earlier this month. 

The authors, who are both Savannah educators, say they want to help bridge the literacy gap created by pandemic-related learning disruptions and changes.

“Children are going to need a boost by doing sight word games, games online and parental resources in order for parents to teach their children their reading skills and how to boost those reading skills up,” Grimes, a previously published author, told WSAV NOW.

“Bumblebees on the Run,” which is the first in a series of early learning books the authors plan to release, is targeted at children between 3 and 8 years old.

Ferguson and Grimes say the book helps teach readers to read and speak the 40 words included on the pre-primer Dolch sight word list

Educator Dr. Edward William Dolch developed the list in the early 20th century by studying the most frequently occurring words in children’s books during that era.

“Just like you’re building a house with the foundation, that’s what the Dolch words do,” Grimes said. “For each grade level, there are particular Dolch words.”

Those featured in their book and on the list include words like “play,” “a,” “help” and “make.”

Ferguson and Grimes say the book introduces children to these words while teaching them through colorful illustrations about how bees produce honey.

“We also have a workbook that goes right along with the book, so they are engaging, always engaging,” said Ferguson, who taught for over 30 years in Savannah.

“We want to be sure that when they finish this book, they will have mastered the 40 critical Dolch words for the pre-kindergarten level,” Ferguson added.

To learn more about “Bumblebees on the Run,” visit this link.

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