When I was a kid, I loved the school carnival: the games, music, cakewalk, and prizes. Imagine if that memorable event was focused on one thing – creating a love of reading – and you’ll get a glimpse into the wonderful Read On Greater Phoenix literacy fairs led by Valley of the Sun United Way.
We teamed up with service partners and schools to bring engaging reading tips to parents and families in the Roosevelt and Balsz school districts.
As a United Way volunteer and member of the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC), spending a day at a literacy fair means so much more to me than providing access to resources. I get to play! We play matching games to teach memory skills, use ordinary household objects to practice rhyming skills, or get crafty by making puppets, bookmarks and flashcards. Or we cop a squat on the floor to read with a child in our sample home library.
In just a few hours, I get smiles, high-fives, and the joy of watching children see stories come alive.
Words leap off the page when costumed characters stop like PBS’ Maya and Miguel pose for photos with the kids. My personal favorite is “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” He walks around, shakes hands, and plays peek-a-boo. (Of course, I may be biased because volunteering is a family affair and my husband dons the suit.)
I was a lucky child, because my parents made reading fun, allowing me to fall into the pages of a book and imagine myself in another world. United Way and the WLC allow me to share that love of reading with Valley children and I’m better because of it. I encourage you to join us as a volunteer at an upcoming literacy fair. It’ll fill your heart and let your imagination fly.