Reading Rocks ready to promote value of reading

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

This year’s Reading Rocks in Rockford is sure to be a hit for everyone in the family. The literacy festival enters its fourth year and has matured into a blockbuster event that highlights what building blocks reading provides toward every child’s future. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 11, is sponsored by the Rockford Rotary Club and Rockford Public Schools, and takes place at a variety of venues throughout downtown Rockford. It includes an author’s showcase, Rockin’ Reader Awards, book publishing, a parade, children’s activities, Paws with a Cause, and even a digital petting zoo.

Reading Rocks has even garnered national recognition in 2012, earning a $2,500 award from the Pearson Foundation and 1,000 books from We Give Books for this wonderful event that promotes literacy. Representatives of Reading Rocks in Rockford and the Rockford Rotary Club will be receiving the award September 7 in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress for National Literacy Day.

The award-winning festival starts on August 11 with a crowd favorite, the Storybook Parade, at 10 a.m. in front of Krause Memorial Library. Parents and children are invited to don a costume of their favorite storybook character, or carry their favorite book and join in the fun. The parade will wind down East Bridge Street to Garden Club Park, where Author’s Row features more than 20 published authors autographing their books and answering questions.

There are also plenty of activities for children in the Rotary Pavilion to help them discover the magic of reading and writing. The “Story Within You” Publishing Center will be housed at the pavilion so future writers can hone their skills. An Out of the World Party is planned from 10 a.m. until noon and features Galactic Games and invites kids to “Imagine! Explore! and Dream Big!” From noon until 2 p.m. the pavilion will feature a Birthday Bash where Mad Libs, Book Bingo, Family Scrabble and face painting add to the fun.

Are you looking for entertainment? The Garden Park Stage is lined up with music and entertainment from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Enjoy the Rockford High School Drumline at 10 a.m. and the Rockford Community Children’s Choir at 11 a.m. A sneak peak at “Into the Woods” Fairy Tale Musical is scheduled for 11:20 a.m., so you can enjoy a taste of the arts. A number of authors will also be taking the stage to entertain with stories, illustrations and music.

Paws with a Cause will be bringing a number of four-footed furry friends for children to read to, and the Rogue River Pirates will be entertaining the crowds. The Kent District Library is adding their own fun with a digital petting zoo, sure to amaze the kids.

Awards will be presented all day long on Pegasus Sports’ front porch. One student in each classroom in the parochial, charter and public elementary schools of Rockford will be honored for their effort in reading.

“A classroom teacher has difficulty selecting just one student for this award, but is encouraged to think of that student who has worked hard all year, perhaps improved the most, or simply discovered the value in reading during that school year,” said Kathy Munger, co-organizer of the event. “School staff and families are invited to attend and recognize these rockin’ readers.”

Reading Rocks is a wonderful event meant to help celebrate the value of reading. You are invited to take part in an award-winning festival that spreads a love of books, knowledge and adventure.

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.