Family-friendly event to be run by the book

 ‘Read Across America’ will be celebrated Friday night at CASH

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

The National Education Association's "Read Across America" event will be celebrated Friday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at CASH.

The National Education Association’s “Read Across America” event will be celebrated Friday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at CASH.

The police will have a noticeable presence at Coatesville Area Senior High School Friday night, but the booking they perform won’t involve a jail cell.

Coatesville Police Chief Jack Laufer and members of his department will trade facts for fiction as guest readers for the school district’s annual “Read Across America” program, an evening of family-friendly activities for all age groups. It will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the high school.

Members of the Police Department will not be the only ones promoting literacy through entertainment. They will get reinforcements from a host of others, including the Coatesville Education Foundation, the Coatesville Library, the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, Chester County Futures, the ROTC, student volunteers, and professional storyteller Deb Pieri.

In addition, authors Linda Oatman High and Marty Crisp will make an appearance. Oatman High’s many books include The Girl on the High-Diving Horse and Sister Slam and the Poetic Motormouth Road Trip. Crisp, who also works as an illustrator, has written White Star: A Dog on the Titanic and Everything Dolphin: What Kids Really Want to Know About Dolphins, among others.

Michele Ollis, one of the organizers, said the program’s popularity continues to increase. Last year, she said about 500 participated, a number that will likely grow for the 2013 event.  Participants will have an opportunity to enjoy face-painting, crafts, a juggler, a raffle, and refreshments, Ollis said.

The program, an offshoot of a national initiative, began in 1997 when a reading task force at the National Education Association (NEA) suggested “a day to celebrate reading,” according to the NEA web site. They reasoned that an activity proven to boost student achievement in school certainly deserved widespread festivities. And since one of children’s most beloved authors is Dr. Seuss, the event occurs each year on or near his birthday, March 2.


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