The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 8, 2014

Wordsmith instructor will help kids read, write, speak better this summer

DANVILLE — Francis Mahoney has always enjoyed teaching and helping children.

He will volunteer his time this summer to teach kids writing stories and books, cursive writing, speaking and reading retention in the Thomas Beaver Free Library. He expects the free program to begin about a week after school ends.

The program will be for kids who have completed third grade with mostly fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders expected.

This is the first year the Riverside resident will teach children cursive writing.

He will teach two programs.

“It depends upon the response. I may teach daily for two weeks,” said Mahoney who buys dictionaries for the children and hopes to purchase notebooks for them at a discounted rate.

Youngsters can be registered by calling the library at 570-275-4180.

“I just love kids and I like to help them. I know I can help them so I do,” said Mahoney who teaches third through fifth grade religious education classes at St. Joseph School. He buys dictionaries for those students too.

A former substitute teacher at the Danville High School and Danville Middle School, he holds a bachelor of science in education from Bloomsburg University.

He taught radio communications in the U.S. Army and taught accountants to use IBM computers. He worked as manager of training for Merck & Co. Inc. which included orientation, basic chemistry, basic physics, safety, environmental, food and drug regulations, chemical operations and management programs.

The programs he will teach children includes reading and retaining objectives such as improving reading skills, remembering what was read, being able to tell what was read and improving reading rates.

Objectives of teaching writing and speaking include improving class participation, learning how to speak to a group, learning how to write a story and a book and doing cursive writing. He also plans to teach sentence structure and grammar.

His vast research includes books written by his nephew, John Lechner, of the Boston area. Lechner is a children’s book author, illustrator and animator.

Mahoney’s grandson, Seth Lynn, of the Danville area, prepared an example showing printing of letters and of cursive writing. Seth, who is 11, did that a year ago.

Mahoney expects to incorporate songs in his teaching as a way of communicating with youngsters.

He will teach good study habits and the importance of homework. “I’d like to get them to come out of their shells. It’s tough for some kids to get up in front and speak,” said Mahoney who has six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Mahoney used to read to children during programs at the library. He also presented a music program there where he introduced the trumpet he plays along with a small flute called a tonette, an African rhythm instrument called bones and harmonicas. Two of his grandchildren, who were 5 and 7 at the time, entertained with harmonicas while he played the trumpet.

Mahoney plans to teach kids the parts of a book such as a glossary and index. He recommends they keep a dictionary beside them, or an electronic device, so they can look up a word. He will also tell them about the parts of the dictionary. “There’s an awful lot of things in a dictionary. I try to help improve their spelling and pronunciation,” he said.

“I’m more than a helper than a teacher,” he said.

He has conducted a program on what can be found in the Danville library, resulting in a tour of the facility.

About 30 years ago, the avid reader spoke about reading skills to Shikellamy students. He discussed training in industry at Susquehanna University.

He taught Chinese students at Bloomsburg University to speak English and Cuban families in Danville to speak English.

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