Volunteers and community members came out by the tens of thousands on Friday and Saturday for one common purpose: reading, reading and more reading.
On Friday, the eighth annual Read To Succeed Reading in the Schools Day brought every city and county school as well as several private schools and daycares together to celebrate literacy. And this yecar was Read To Succeed’s biggest yet—more than 25,000 students participated, with a volunteer reader visiting every classroom at some point throughout the day to open a book and read aloud. This was the first year that local daycares participated along with the schools, bringing record numbers of volunteers and students along with them.
Each school got into the spirit, creating their own unique spins on the event. Some had famous faces visit their classrooms, like Mayor Earnest Burgess who made the reading rounds to McFadden, Wilson Elementary and Christiana Elementary. Miss United States Rachel Juillerat read at Erma Siegel Elementary.
Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg was busy all day, stopping at several schools throughout the city to open a book. And the cause—promoting literacy—is an important one to him.
“Reading brings entertainment, understanding and accomplishment,” Mayor Bragg said. “Sharing the love of reading in schools encourages students and readers alike to connect with each other around the common ideas and adventure expressed in the book.”
The idea of reading as an “adventure” was echoed at Mitchell Neilson Primary, where state Rep. Diane Black visited to read Winnie the Pooh off of second-grade teacher Gayle Porterfield’s iPad.
“Reading is just so fundamental,” Black said. “There are things you get to experience in books that you never experience in life. You get to go on adventures, learn about history, and work your imaginations.”
Eagleville Elementary even kicked the day off with a literary-themed parade, complete with hundreds of students lining up to celebrate their favorite books.
Friday wasn’t the end to the literacy-celebration. On Saturday, Murfreesboro, Smyrna and La Vergne Libraries held their annual Reading Rally. Crowds of people gathered at each local library that day, enjoying storytellers, fictional characters like SkippyJon Jones, Cinderella and Clifford come to life, free food and fun for the whole family.
The point of both events is simple. Literacy matters—in Rutherford County and everywhere.
“"Read To Succeed creates events and programming throughout the year, but Reading in the Schools Day is always a highlight,” said Read To Succeed Executive Director Ronni Shaw. “Over 25,000 students at 70 schools across Rutherford County enjoy a volunteer reader in their classroom. Not only do the children love being read to, the teachers feel community support for their daily efforts. It is a wonderful treat to visit schools on this day and see so many parents, grandparents, business folk, elected officials, police and fire officers all smiling at, and reading to, our children."
Now after Reading in the Schools Day and the Reading Rallies are over, the community has the rest of the school year to look forward to. And that means countless more opportunities to open a book or visit your local library.
For additional pictures, contact Sarah Porterfield at email@example.com.