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John Monfredo: Reading In Our City Week

Saturday, June 08, 2013


June 9th will kick off a fantastic week full of activities that celebrate reading.

“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read." – Marilyn Jager Adams

Thanks to the initiative of the Worcester: the City That Reads Committee, our community will celebrate the importance of literacy throughout the week of June 9th. Study after study finds that the ability to read well is the single best indicator of future economic success–regardless of family background. We know that once a child is “hooked” on reading his skill develops rapidly. The more he reads, the better he reads and the more he brings to each new reading experience. It is because of these reasons that my wife, Anne-Marie, and I started Worcester: the City that Reads. Having just finished collecting over 30.000 books with our Give a Book book drive we have now moved on to engaging the community in literacy activities.

Therefore, we have worked to arrange the following activities in our community to embrace literacy and to continue to bring a sense of awareness to the community, and hope that more groups join in and add to the importance of literacy in our city.

Activities for the week are as follows:

A proclamation was read by Mayor Joseph M. Petty at the City Council Chambers on Tuesday June 4th declaring the week as “Reading in our City Week.” On Sunday June 9th, Elm Park will “kick off” the week’s celebration with “A Day of Play”. This event is sponsored by Edwards Street Child Services. Among the activities planned are several author visits and a special visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog with Clifford books being given away. In addition, there will be 35 participatory activities, performers, and giveaways including Quidditch fun with the Hogwarts School of Magic and Fun…(Harry Potter’s warding sport). Children coming to the event will learn how to play the game.

During the week, the Worcester Public Schools will also have their “Kick-off for Summer Reading.” Celebrity reading events as well as book character events will take place in the schools. Also, part of the 30,000 books received in the drive from Worcester: the City that Reads will be given out to the Worcester Public Schools students for summer reading and to over ten social agencies for summer programs. It brings the total to 180,000 given to children during the past seven years by the Worcester: the City that Reads Committee. The Worcester Public School Nurses will wear buttons that say “Read” as a way of encouraging students to think about the importance of literacy.

The Worcester Public Library will have a number of events commemorating the week starting on Monday, June 10th with sign ups for library summer reading programs for children and adults. Then on the 11th, children from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. can come to the children’s room and “Build Robot Art,” or Read to Nemo, a certified reading therapy dog from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. On June 12th, Author Jarrett Krosoczka will present his new chapter book series, The Platypus Police Squad from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. Books will be available for purchase. Then on June 14th, there will be a “Teen Manga Club” meeting taking place in the Banx Room from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. On that same day, “Drumming with Rhythm will be performed by the Worcester Arts Magnet School afterschool drummers in the Children’s Room starting at 3:30p.m. The final event on June 15th will feature the Legos Club activities in the Children’s Room from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. The book mobile “Libby” will also be very active during the week as it gears up for traveling from neighborhood to neighborhood during the summer months.
The Friends of the Worcester Public Library will be giving out free books at Union Station to those who travel by train or bus.

UMass Memorial employees will be reading to the children at Belmont Community School and at City View School on the 14th of June.

Local dentist, Dr. Stanley Levenson located at 9 Linden Street will be giving out books to the children who come into his office throughout the week.

TD Bank will kick off its summer reading program to encourage the students to keep their reading and money saving skills sharp during the summer. The program rewards children who read ten books during the summer with a $10.00 deposit into a new or existing Young Saver account. In addition, the 2013 Reading Program brochure features a personal savings chart for tracking progress, as well as suggested questions children can ask about savings accounts and the Penny Arcade coin counting machine.

Mass Audubon will have a story walk set up at Broad Meadow Brook. The Story Walk will take place with Audubon at Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary. Read the signs of nature while completing a nature scavenger hunt. Each participant will receive a Tony King Look-Around nature book to take home.

Worcester Head Start: Throughout the week, the staff will be taking books on the move! Children will be enjoying a variety of special books in the warm spring air as they read outside both on their playgrounds and in other special outdoor spots. In addition, the teachers will complete home visits for children enrolled in the program. All families will receive their own books to enjoy with their children this summer along with a list of fun, literacy centered activities to keep them reading and moving all summer long.

Plumley Village will be having their children reading throughout the week and learn about new literacy strategies including choral reading and readers’ theater. In addition, there will be a Kick-Off for enrolling students for “Catch the Reading Bug on the 13th, a six week summer program for children entering kindergarten through 3rd grade beginning in July.

The Friends of the Worcester Public Library sponsor a bookcase at Union Station, which distributes books free of charge to those who travel by train or bus. People can take a book or leave a book to exchange for another book.

YMCA Greendale Branch will be running a week of “Read to Me” program for their out-of-school program. Middle School Children will be reading to children in grades 3 to 5. In addition, the third and fifth graders will be reading to the Pre-k and Kindergarten students.

St. Peter Central Catholic will have their fifth grade students reading their favorite picture book stories to kindergarten students. Wilson Language Training will be coming to the school and videotaping model literacy lessons using their foundation curriculum.
Students in grade 2 and 3 will compete in “Fluency Idol” competitions in which they read practiced passages showing off their fluent and expressive reading ability.

The Worcester Public School Nurses will be wearing buttons saying,” Reading is Important” during the week.

Barnes and Noble will be announcing their reading program that requires students to read eight books and write about their favorite part in a reading journal. When the students bring their completed reading journal to their local store, they get to choose a free book.

The Jewish Community Center will have a “Drop Everything and Read” activity where everyone will be encouraged to read for 15 minutes. After school, students will participate in a community reading program with related reading activities. Kindergarten and after school students will read to younger students.

The Worcester Literacy Volunteers on June 12th from 2:00 to 3:00 at the WPL will have a read a thon. The theme will be “More True Stories.” Each story has a special twist to it and many are humorous.

UMass Memorial will have their staff reading at a number of elementary schools in Worcester. A number of churches in the area will be emphasizing reading activities throughout the week.

The African Community Education (ACE) will review the summer reading list with the students and work with parents, with the community outreach volunteers teaching about the importance of summer reading. The Leominster Credit Union has given ACE books for their give out during “Reading in Our City Week.”

Reverend Telley from the Belmont Zion Church will encourage his congregation to read to their children during the week and have the children participate in the morning service by reading the different portions of the morning program…

RSVP also has a “stitching for literacy” taking place. This is a volunteer effort including members of the Worcester Southeast Asian community to provide three handmade counted cross-stitch bookmarks to each elementary school during “Reading Week.”

Worcester North Showcase will announce that they will be holding a “Book Worm” Wednesday movie every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. starting on July 10th to August 7th for children of any age and their admission will be a book report. Adults accompanying their children come in free.

Katie Gomes Lyons, Family Literacy Coordinator for the Worcester Adult Learning Center stated, “We are continuing our “Family Reading Nights” at the YMCA on Main Street that week! We are also working on a Summer Institute for our families to help promote summer safety as well as to prevent the “summer slide and have developed a variety of educational games and ideas to help keep reading and math going all summer long.”

Other groups involved with activities include the Boys and Girls Club, Rainbow Child Development, Worcester Credit Union, Family Health Centers, Mechanics Hall, Literacy Volunteers, and the YMCA Greendale Branch. These groups will volunteer their time and energy to support reading efforts over the summer months. In addition, our City Councilors will wear buttons encouraging reading.

Each year, the community has continued to become more aware of the importance of literacy in our community and thus we are moving forward and becoming a “City that reads.”


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