Limitless Capacity to Learn and Grow

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Evelyn Holmes,s excitement and enthusiasm is contagious when she reads, sings, and dances.

Importance of reading

A voice and a strong foundation, that’s what is important to Evelyn Holmes. Your individual voice that was shaped by the foundation of family. Whether that family was biological or a collective village, it helped lay the groundwork for the way you creatively express your views.

 Evelyn grew up in Detroit across the street from Hitsville USA. From her childhood backyard, she watched and heard the Motown greats come and go before they were stars.

But there was a different voice that captured her imagination, her grandfather’s. His deep, soothing baritone voice would tell stories that incorporated every character from the neighborhood. She was enamored by the way his voice would adopt their voices, from deep baritone to high falsetto depending on the character. Fables, parables and anecdotes would come to life through his voice while her head rested snuggly against his soft, white t-shirt.

Their house was always full with things to read: the Bible, newspapers, cookbooks and magazines. Her mother began bringing books home for her at an early age. One that stuck out was “Are You My Mother?” By P.D. Eastman. An early childhood story about a baby bird hatching while it’s Mother is away and searching for her, individually asks a kitten, hen, dog , cow and an excavator if it’s the baby bird’s mother. The excavator lifts the baby bird up by chance and places it back into its nest where shortly after the mother returns and they are happily reunited.

That simple story of the importance of family ignited Evelyn’s passion for reading. To add to that she has always been fascinated by the unstoppable and limitless capacity for children to learn and grow. Pursuing those two interests, she received her Bachelors in Family Life Education and eventually earned her Masters in Education.

“Reading is social practice,” says Evelyn. “It is important that young children acquire the Cipher; the key between letters and sounds and sounds and letters. Phonics, Phonemic Awareness and whole language.”

To successfully mix these elements together, she uses something from her education, the acronym ELVES.


Begin reading aloud, with discussion by focusing on the listener’s personal experiences related to the theme, character or plot of the story.


Develop an environment where the listener, message and listening situation interact. Direct the child to predict what will happen in the story and encourage them to remember exactly when their prediction was proven to be true and confirm or not.


Use guided mental imagery as a powerful strategy for teaching comprehension by encouraging the child to verbalize their imagery.


Encourage the child to achieve higher levels of meaning by bridging knowledge stored within their own minds with new information found in the story. Facilitate listening and comprehension by asking questions that put listeners in the role of the active meaning makers.


Encourage children to savor and slowly digest the story. Give the listener time to reflect on the good thoughts and feelings the story stimulated. Include activities which allow the listener to build on the meaning made during the listening experience.

Evelyn now shares her passion for reading and child development with fellow staff at Island Kiddie Kampus where her excitement and enthusiasm is contagious. She reads, sings, dances and involves the children and staff as a story comes to life. Just as they did for her when she was listening to her grandfather. •

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