AMERICA READS: Reading Is Contagious will mark its 17th year, Oct. 17 and 18. Community members are invited to register now for the annual literacy celebration.
The program was initiated in the Cedar Rapids District and was originally based on a similar national program. Within the first few years, it was expanded to include all metro Cedar Rapids school districts, focuses attention on the importance of reading aloud to young children to improve literacy. During the two-day event, elementary schools across the metro area welcome community members to share a story with students, promoting reading as a lifelong skill, centering attention on literacy in the schools, and demonstrating the joy of reading through collective citizen involvement.
Over 2,200 volunteers participated in the 2012 event. The project brings together the five metro area school districts - Cedar Rapids Community, College Community, Linn-Mar, Marion Independent and Metro Catholic schools. The five area public libraries - Cedar Rapids, Ely, Fairfax, Hiawatha and Marion – also partner to support the program. Additionally, area businesses and organization provide financial support.
Participants range from middle, high school and college students and parents to school neighbors, senior citizens, business people, and community "celebrities". The community readers spend 30 minutes in a classroom, sharing their love of reading by doing just that—each volunteer reads a favorite story to a child, a small group of children, or to an entire classroom of students.
"Volunteers celebrate their own love of reading by sharing a story with students," explained Marcia Hughes, Community Relations Supervisor. "That special book might just become someone else's favorite. After all, reading is contagious!"
Click here to register as a reader for AMERICA READS: Reading Is Contagious. Readers should register by Oct. 1.