06 April 2013

F is for... Family Literacy Day

Today was Belmont University's 13th Annual Family Literacy Day.  It's a free event that the University puts on for the community to promote literacy.  Aimed at kids from pre-K to sixth grade, the kids get a paper with six boxes on it.  They go to their choice of reading circles set up by different groups on campus, where they can either read to or be read to by volunteers made up of groups on campus.  After their stories, they get a sticker in a box to prove they've been to a reading circle.  When they get two stickers, they can go get refreshments and/or do crafts.  When they get six stickers, they are allowed to pick out a book from a large selection of books - anything from picture books to the latest book by Lemony Snicket.  It's a great way to get kids reading and enjoying the written word.

Small signs to let people know they've come to the right place.

This is our 4th year going (I think) and, as in past years, we had a wonderful time.  They host it at one of the local parks so we can enjoy the wonderful Tennessee spring sunshine. Things were set up a litter different this year from the times we've been in the past.  They'd moved the registration table inside and had the reading circles in the new baseball stadium the park had built over the last year.  But we were able to find where we needed to be fairly quickly, picked up the boys' papers and goody bags, and headed out to get our read on!

Showing the way to the reading circles.

As always, there were quite a few groups with their reading circles, all vying for the attention of kids to come listen to their stories.  Each group had a different theme (though they didn't always choose books that were exactly fitting).  As soon as we walked in, someone suggested we got to her group where they were reading fairy tales and mythology.  It was as good of a place to start as any other, so the boys went and chose a Dr. Seuss - Horton Hears a Who.  I don't think the students that suggested it really realized how long the story was.  It took three of them reading it to the boys to get through it, and then they gave each of them two stickers instead of one!  The kids were pretty happy with that!

My boys, listening as a student reads Horton Hears a Who to them.

Pete was behaving pretty well there, too.  I was happy with my boys.
We actually split up at that point, Pete going with Rich and Teddy coming with me.  They both wanted different kinds of books, so it seemed to make sense.  Teddy and I wandered around until we found a lonely group with dinosaur books.  Teddy chose the book How Do Dinosaurs Go To School?.  We were able to talk him into sharing reading duties.  He read one page and one of the students read the next.  By the time they got to the last page, they both read together.  And I think it gave Teddy the courage to try reading out loud on his own for the future books.

Teddy and one of the students reading together.

The next circle we stopped at was a huge hit for Teddy.  He saw a book that he loved and he wanted to read it to them. Dear Mrs. La Rue: Letters From Obedience School. Apparently, it's one his teacher has read in school before and he loves it.  The girls he read to were really impressed with how well he did.  Reading words like "Obedience" isn't something you'd expect from a 7 year old.  While he was reading, Pete and Rich came over, Pete having just one more story to go.  A couple of the other students read to him while Teddy was continuing to read his.  He finished before Teddy and got not just his last star but also a blow pop!  Then he sat down to listen to Teddy finish reading his story. The girls Teddy was reading to were so impressed that they gave him two stars.

Teddy, entertaining the students with his reading.
The last story was one that Teddy chose to read as well, and was one that he knew both he and his brother would enjoy. Two Crazy Pigs. I wasn't paying quite as much attention during that one, though the students and my boys both seemed to enjoy it quite a bit.  I love watching my boys interact like that!

Little Brother paying attention while Big Brother reads him a story.

I actually snuck off so I could take a picture from the bleachers of all the reading circles.  Being a reader from my earliest days, seeing so many groups promoting reading, and so many parents bringing their kids to share in the joy of reading, was a wonderful thing.

A sea of reading circles, spreading the joy of reading
Once the boys had all their stickers, we headed inside the Community Center where they had the book table set up.  Teddy looked at the chapter books while Pete looked at the picture book end.  Teddy thought he had his book - a Pokemon book, Coal Badge Battle.  Of course, when Pete saw that Teddy had a Pokemon book, he decided he needed a Pokemon book too.  Knowing the likelihood of them having two different Pokemon books, Teddy agreed to pass his off to his brother and picked up Tethan Battle Adventure #3 (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), a Star Wars Choose Your Own Adventure.  Awesome score for both of them!

Boys and their books...
After that, the boys just had to get their refreshments (popcorn and cotton candy, as well as some water), each made a bookmark and then Teddy decided to get his face painted in a way to perfectly show off the day.

And I love that he loves to read!
As always, it was an awesome day filled with fun for all of us.  I love my boys and love that they are readers, but I love even more that Belmont University puts this on every year.  If you are in or around the Nashville area at the beginning of April next year and have kids sixth grade or below, I definitely recommend checking this out.  Because you'll have an afternoon of awesome reading fun! I know we always do.