Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and his administration have designated November as Family Literacy Month. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard brings us more details about what’s happening to help children and families become more engaged in reading in the Berkshires and across the Commonwealth.
November of 2012 has been recognized by Governor Patrick’s administration as the 16th Family Literacy Month. Throughout the month, cities and towns across Massachusetts will be holding events and hosting activities to engage parents and encourage early learning.
Secretary of Education Paul Reville says that in a student’s life, their primary educator is their parent.
Secretary Reville mentioned the recent move by the legislature to set up a state-wide task force to improve reading ability in 3rd graders across Massachusetts. He said if young children are introduced to books before they enter kindergarten, they’re much more likely to be successful by the time they are 8 or 9 years old.
Tomorrow in Pittsfield, the Berkshire Museum is hosting a free family literacy program, the “WeeRead Pajama Party”. Sue Doucette, early childhood learning coordinator for Pittsfield Public Schools and volunteer for “WeeRead” says that the event will have a variety of activities involving learning and reading.
Other events this month are also being held in Cambridge, Chelsea, Lawrence, Brockton, and Springfield.
The national non-profit Reach Out & Read recently declared Berkshire County as the first of it’s kind in the nation to be designated a “Bookend County”. Western Massachusetts Coordinator for Reach Out & Read Laurie Flynn says that the Bookend program will work with 9 pediatricians office’s in the County for doctors to “prescribe” books to young children and families in regular checkups.
Holyoke and Springfield have been named Bookend Cities.
The Reach Out & Read program in Berkshire County is supported by a grant from the Berkshire United Way. The Berkshire United Way and their Pittsfield Promise program and with help from Berkshire Priorities are aiming to increase reading proficiency from 60% in 2011 to 90% in 2020 by working with families and children up to five years.
November 2 (Pittsfield) – Berkshire County will host a free family literacy pajama night in Pittsfield. The "WeeRead Pajama Party" will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Berkshire Museum and will promote community and family engagement in early literacy development.
November 3 (Cambridge) – The 16th Annual Cambridge Family Literacy Fun Day will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cambridge City Hall for all Cambridge families with children in pre-K through grade 3. This free event will include children's activities, free books, Bonaparte the Magician, sing-a-longs, face painting and more.
November 3 (Chelsea) – "Chelsea Reads," the city's 7th Annual Family Literacy Day, will take place at the Chelsea Public Library from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Raising a Reader and the Chelsea/Revere Family and Community Network Program are partnering with the library to provide this free event for toddlers and up. The event will include book-based activities, storytellers, face painting, and a disc jockey providing age appropriate music. Police Chief Brian Kyes, State Representative Eugene O’Flaherty, and others will read books to children. All children under 12 will receive a backpack containing several books (while supplies last).
November 10 (Lawrence) – Community Pathways Lawrence, a local partnership of community organizations, will conduct a Family Literacy Fun Day from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Lawrence Public Library. As a part of celebrating reading and literacy, several community leaders will participate in the day as celebrity readers. Every child will receive a free book. Refreshments will be provided, prizes will be given away, and there will be family friendly entertainment. Everyone is welcome to attend and no reservations are required. For more information or to ask questions, please contact Betsy Leeman, Director of the Asian Center of Merrimack Valley, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-683-7316.
November 13 (Brockton) – Brockton families are invited to attend a Family Literacy Celebration at 6:00 p.m. at the Brockton Public Schools Adult Learning Center at 211 Crescent Street. The Brockton Coordinated Family & Community Engagement, Brockton Public Schools Parent Academy, Community Connections of Brockton and the Brockton Public Schools Adult Learning Center are sponsoring an evening of entertainment by Pumpernickel Puppets. Young children and their parents will be provided a pizza dinner, a classic story-based puppet show, and the opportunity to interact with the puppets and the puppeteer. Each child will receive an age-appropriate book to take home. To register, please call 508-580-7491.
November 29 (Springfield) – Springfield families with Pre-K to Grade 1 children are invited to participate in Bingo for Books from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Palmer Library at the Margaret C. Ellis School. Bingo winners will get the first chance to select a book to take home – but all children will receive a new book. Pizza will be provided from 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact Diane Nostin Houle at 413-787-7345.