When Lee Wilkerson, the principal at Cason Lane Academy, asked one of his parents what she thought of the Me & My Family literacy night at the school, she replied, “My kids thought they were at Disneyworld!” Over 500 parents, children, and volunteers came out for the second annual Read To Succeed event Thursday night to enjoy a night of family fun centered on reading.
Read To Succeed partners with Murfreesboro City Schools to host this event. Families spent the evening winning free prizes and books while playing literacy-themed games. They learned about community resources from Greenhouse Ministry, the MTSU Dyslexia Center, and the MTSU Discover the Waters TN program. The Cason Lane teachers even got in on the fun with designated areas for the grade levels. The St. Thomas Rutherford mobile health unit and the Linebaugh Library bookmobile were also available for the families to visit.
“I think the turnout tonight shows that ‘literacy matters’ to the families of Rutherford County. We have enjoyed watching hundreds of families come out together to focus on literacy and how important it is to life-long learning, healthy families, and a strong community, “ Read to Succeed Executive Director Lisa Mitchell said about the Me & My Family event.
“Together we are helping to get the word out that literacy is more than learning how to read and write. Literacy enriches the quality of life for individuals and our community as a whole.”
The children were also treated to pictures with storybook characters such as Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Cat in the Hat, and Clifford, the Big Red Dog. Hershey, the literacy dog, sat quietly in the library while children read to him. Amy Parker, a local children’s author, shared her insights with parents and children. All the families enjoyed free box dinners provided by Read To Succeed and Murfreesboro City Schools and prepared by Sandy Scheele and her staff.
Murfreesboro City Schools ELL family liaison Marisela Tapia said, “I am pleased to see how the community supports reading, and parent involvement is the key to continue motivating our children to do their best. People of every language have to be able to read to be successful.” A new addition to the night was an international area for Hispanic and Arabic families this year.
The evening culminated in the gym with kids waiting anxiously for their names to be drawn and announced by Mr. Wilkerson for the big prizes. Numerous gift cards were given away and a Nook e-reader was won by Sarah McNutt and a Samsung tablet was won by Madison Lewis.
Dozens of volunteers made the night possible, helping to run the games, prize tables, and all the activities set up for the children to enjoy. Families walked away with hundreds of free books for all ages. Principal Wilkerson said, “I was just so glad to see so many smiling faces throughout the whole school.”