• Community Literacy Night to celebrate reading, includes activities

    The One Book, One Bellefonte event was such a hit last month that the Bellefonte Reads committee needed to make a second order of 176 books for local families who attended the event just as books ran out. The annual book distribution night was held to help connect the community through a series of books that correlate with an inclusivity theme. In total, 693 books were distributed to families – nearly 200 more than the number of books given out at last year’s event.

    Now, committee members are preparing for the next event through Bellefonte Reads, called Community Literacy Night, which will be held on March 14. A free dinner for guests will be held at 5:30 p.m., followed by free literacy activities and giveaway opportunities from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Bellefonte Area High School. A snow makeup day will be March 21.

    Community Literacy Night is the a literacy celebration following the kickoff event that was held in February and featured the books “Refugee,” “Wishtree,” “Her Right Foot,” “Strictly No Elephants” and “We Are All Dots.” With double the amount of guests as last year, book distribution night also included a series of activities that correlated with the featured books.

    “One of the things we loved was hearing kids and parents talk about books,” committee co-chairwoman and elementary literacy coach Nicole Kohlhepp said. “We want to keep that conversation and excitement going about books.”

    According to Bellefonte Reads founder, secondary literacy coach and committee co-chairwoman Jackie Wynkoop, research shows that the more children read, the more successful they will be. Research also strongly supports the importance of book ownership.

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    “I think it’s the foundation to a successful life, so it’s critical that we’re giving away quality books for free to families,” Wynkoop said. “I think that other than providing your child with love and food and shelter and clothing, reading books with them and stressing the importance of reading at an early age is one of the most important things a parent can do for their child. They can read books in school and go to the library, but it really makes a difference when there are actual books in the home.”

    Community Literacy Night will also include a Scholastic book fair and a book swap. Blue White Photo Booths will also be offering a "shelfie" station where guests can take a photo with their favorite book and turn their photo strip into a keepsake bookmark. 

    These events would also not be possible without the help of sponsors and volunteers. A list of benefactors can be found, here: Benefactors

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD