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West Lawn woman named Goddard teacher of the year

May  17, 2013 / Reading Eagle / Preschool teacher Linda Taylor of West Lawn received a teacher of the year award this spring from Goddard Systems Inc.

Linda Taylor of West Lawn with some of her students at The Goddard School in Spring Township. Taylor has promoted a literary awareness program that has seen great success. / Preschool teacher Linda Taylor of West Lawn received a teacher of the year award this spring from Goddard Systems Inc. / by Jennifer Hetrick

She works at The Goddard School in Spring Township and has promoted a literary awareness program that has seen great success with her young students.

"Making learning fun is at the core of The Goddard School program," said Dr. Craig Bach, vice president of education for Goddard Systems Inc., franchiser of The Goddard School. "And through her literacy awareness program, Linda uses proven, play-based methods to nurture healthy development and encourage a lifelong love of learning."

While Taylor's efforts were recognized during Teacher Appreciation Week from May 6-10, she heard about becoming an honoree in March after having implemented her literary awareness program several years ago in her classroom.

She is one of a handful of teachers to receive recognition from Goddard Schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts and Colorado.

"I think reading is such an enjoyable skill, and you need to be able to read to survive," said Taylor, who has taught at the Spring Township school for 14 years.

Her children are mostly adults now, but all love to read, she said.

"I had a lot of themes based around books," Taylor explained about how her literary awareness program works.

She strives to create interaction while reading to her preschoolers, and said she has seen an enthusiastic reaction from the students, with it even permeating their parents.

Eric Carle, Ladybug Girl and Dr. Seuss books are just some examples of what she has tied into the program.

With the Ladybug Girl series, her students made ladybug headbands with jiggling antennas and spent time counting and sorting out little plastic ladybugs. They also made ladybug cookies.

Taylor has incorporated fun festivities in learning through the book "Go Away, Big Green Monster!" by Ed Emberley and "Pinkalicious" by Victoria Kann.

The children are so ecstatic about how much fun Taylor helps reading to be that she said they often go home and tell their parents about the books, asking them to buy copies of their own to keep at home.

"And through this, families can read together," Taylor said. "That creates an opportunity for bonding time at home.

"I love books and think they're so fun. And kindergarten isn't just a playtime anymore."

So her program is better preparing preschoolers for reading successfully as they move into higher grade levels.

"We go to the Spring Township Library every week," she said.

And while the kids cherish the opportunity to spend time outside while walking to go look for books to borrow, Taylor said she appreciates that going to a community library teaches her young students the responsibilities of checking out and returning books.

Taylor's preschoolers shrieked happily and jumped up and down at the word of her award and asked her to keep the plaque in the classroom, so it is sitting above the room's cubbies.

She liked that they seemed to understand what the award meant, despite being so young.

"It's nice to be recognized," Taylor said. "And I love seeing the children's eyes when they're excited as we're reading."

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