Reading Rocks receives national recognition at Library of Congress

Kids enjoy mascots at the Reading Rocks reading festival.

The Reading Rocks in Rockford reading festival is just entering its fourth year, but this toddler has already gained many accolades for helping spread the message of how important reading is. The Rockford Rotary Club, Rockford Public Schools and the Kent District Library (KDL) have joined impressive forces to promote the joy of reading for all ages during this annual event. Sue Bodenner, along with Ryan Kelley, fellow Rotarians, co-organize the event.

The one-day annual literacy event is a wonderful way for families to share the joy of reading with fun activities, published authors, a parade, entertainment and writing workshops. But the event also carries a deeper goal: to enable those less fortunate to receive the building blocks to a better education through reading.

Children read with dogs at Krause Memorial Library during the Reading Rocks reading festival in Rockford.

Reading Rocks has accomplished that goal in a big way. It has been designated as one of two recipients of a $2,500 award from the Pearson Foundation for the wonderful project. Reading Rocks competed against hundreds of programs for this prestigious recognition. They will also receive 1,000 books from We Give Books to a nonprofit organization of Reading Rocks’ choosing.

“The Pearson Foundation award is an unexpected blessing that comes from one good thing after another happening between the Rockford Rotary and members of the Rockford Public Schools who are also connected to the Kent Reading Council, a local chapter of the International Reading Association,” said Kathy Munger, member of the Reading Rocks steering committee.

“The application focused on the description of the Reading Rocks in Rockford reading festival and included a literacy vision for the future,” said Kelley. “Promoting the joy of reading is the mission statement of the festival, and we’re grateful to the Foundation for realizing the benefits in motivating children and adults to read for enjoyment.”

Bodenner and Munger, received a congratulatory letter in July. Representatives of the Pearson Foundation congratulated them and stated, “Literacy transforms the lives of individuals and strengthens the health of a community. Your work to promote literacy is invaluable, and Rotary International and IRA are honored that you have shared your hard work and dedication.”

The award will be presented September 7 in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress by Pearson Foundation for National Literacy Day.

Please watch for next week’s Squire, which will include a special insert and more information about all the activities during the upcoming Reading Rocks in Rockford reading festival.

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