The ''Twos'' have never been terrible for preschool teacher Sherry Kelley.
''I've taught 2-year-olds for over 40-some years,'' she said. ''Twos aren't hard. They're easy.''
One thing she knows about 2-year-olds: They love books.
''The first thing when I get here, they want to read a story in the morning,'' said Kelley, who has been a preschool teacher in the Early Childhood program at the Shaw Jewish Community Center of Akron for 30 years.
She shares their enthusiasm for stories and nurtures it, which is why she was honored with the This City Reads! Literacy Is Life Award Wednesday morning at the kickoff event for the Ninth Annual Day of Reading.
This City Reads!, an alliance of 145 organizations and institutions that promotes literacy, sponsors the event. The organization asks everyone in Summit County to read for at least 30 minutes and report it at www.thiscityreads.org. Last year, 80,652 readers participated. The goal is 100,000.
Kelley, 65, said the children in her care make every day a day of reading. They learn how to hold books right side up and turn the pages in the right order. Other students are more advanced and are beginning to read words on their own.
She said kids today have more exposure to reading and preschool in general than in the past when preschool was less available.
''If the mom wasn't interested in books, what chance did that child have for a lot of literacy?'' Kelley said.
But these days, she has 2-year-old children who already know their letters and can spell their own names.
''Some of my children read words and we find all the exit signs and we spell exit,'' Kelley said. ''They know the whole alphabet. They know all their letters.''
Hugh O'Neill, for example, proudly spells his own name and knows how to make an H on a chalkboard.
''He's teaching his friends how to write H,'' Kelley said.
''People don't know what they can get out of a 2-year-old,'' Kelley said. ''It's hard for me to go home because I love them so much.''
John Higgins can be reached at 330-996-3792 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the education blog at http://education.ohio.com/.