Change your future with a book

BY DAVID BRADLEY, News + Record Staff
Posted 5/3/19

The “El Dia de los Libros,” or “The Day of the Book,” a festival held last Saturday at Siler City Elementary School, aimed to get books into the hands of children who otherwise may lose …

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Change your future with a book

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Posted

The “El Dia de los Libros,” or “The Day of the Book,” a festival held last Saturday at Siler City Elementary School, aimed to get books into the hands of children who otherwise may lose reading skills over the summer.

The event was held in conjunction with “El Dia de los Ninos,” or “The Day of the Children,” a Latin American holiday.

In Siler City, festival sponsors gave away bi-lingual books to kids of all age groups. The annual festival is a connection between children and their families and service organizations, including the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Chatham Literacy and the public libraries in Chatham County.

Research shows, according to a pamphlet prepared by the Chatham Education Foundation, that children living in poverty often don’t have books available at home, which contributes to their loss of reading skills over the summer when school is not in session.

“Books in the home connect to literacy later,” said Erin Suwattana of the Chatham County Partnership for Children. “With parents, we tell them that no matter what their skills, sit down with your children, read, and look at the pictures. Children gain literacy skills from the interaction.”

Each child received a new bi-lingual book at the registration table, and then was able to meet with the funders and partners in the projects such as the Chatham Arts, the N.C. Arts Council, Chatham County Schools and Public Libraries, the Chatham County Partnership for Children, and Chatham Literacy to access information in Spanish. Parents and their children could then pick out more books in Spanish or English to continue to read at home.

“It was a great way for families to find out about services that are available,” Suwattana said. “It brings together our agency partners to see the kids and connect with their families. It grows each year as more agencies come.”

Connections to their heritage were also part of the event, with a dramatic interpretation of Mexican life in the street scenes of the city, live music, and dancing instruction. Free lunches were provided by Wendy’s.

“Our goal was to celebrate literacy and the arts,” Suwattana said. “We want them to go home with four books and build literacy skills. To have books there in homes means families will read together.

Reach David Bradley at david@chathamnr.com.

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