- Oklahoma City Public Schools
For the Love of Reading: OKCPS Foundation Hosts Event to Celebrate National Read Across America Day
OKLAHOMA CITY (March 6, 2023) – On Saturday, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation hosted a fun and family-friendly event at Belle Isle Library in honor of Read Across America Day. Funded by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the celebratory event included interactive games, activities, special guests, snacks and the ReadOKC On the Go! Book Bus. More than 250 local children and families spent the day learning about the importance of reading and how to make such an important life skill fun and lasting.
Established by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 to help get kids excited about reading, National Read Across America Day allows students, teachers, parents, and community members around the nation to come together to read books and celebrate the joy of reading.
“Our ReadOKC initiative aims to instill the love of reading in students in our community by increasing access to books in OKCPS schools, on our mobile book bus and in the Little Libraries located at all of our schools and in parks across the metro,” said Mary Melón-Tully, president and CEO of the OKCPS Foundation. “As a recipient of the Children’s iFund Grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, we were excited to partner with the Metropolitan Library to host Saturday’s event where more than 350 books were given away to OKC families in honor of Read Across America Day. ”
The celebration began with a meet-and-greet from Tammi Sauer, a children’s author, former teacher and Edmond resident. Through this grant, the OKCPS Foundation purchased 125 of her bestselling children’s books to give to attendees.
“It was wonderful to celebrate reading at Belle Isle Library,” said Sauer. “I love creating and sharing books. Each book takes readers on a new adventure!”
After the meet-and-greet, OKC kids enjoyed a performance from the local music group the Sugar Free Allstars before listening to special guest community readers – Mary Mélon-Tully, president and CEO of the OKCPS Foundation, Kelley Barnes, Vice President of Community Engagement at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, as well as Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert and State Senator Carri Hicks.
“Reading is one of the greatest gifts we can share with young people,” said OK Senator Carrie Hicks. “I’m incredibly humbled to share this experience with the Belle Isle Library and look forward to sparking creativity and a love of learning in our youth.”
“Learning to read, and developing a lifelong love of reading, in children and young adults provides an excellent opportunity for them to experience the world around them in fun and exciting ways,” said Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert. “As an avid reader myself, I’m excited that I had the chance to share my passion for reading at this fun and rewarding event.”
All children in attendance were also allowed to pick out a book of their choice from the ReadOKC On the Go! Book Bus and take it home with them. The fun-filled day also featured sno-cones from Kona Ice and a visit from the Belle Isle Library mascot Spoticus.
Today’s event was made possible by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation (OCCF) through the Opportunities for Children’s iFund Grant. A nonprofit public charity, the OCCF serves the needs of the Oklahoma City area through the development and administration of endowments and other charitable funds with the goal of preserving capital and improving the community.
“Children’s literacy is paramount to overall education. Engaging and fun community events like this play an important role in advocating for and inspiring a love of reading,” said Kelley Barnes, Vice President, Community Engagement of OCCF. “Supporting organizations, like the Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) Foundation, that provide academically-enriching opportunities to local students is critically important.”
The Metropolitan Library System was proud to host the event at Belle Isle Library. "We were so excited to partner with ReadOKC and bring exciting events like these to our community,” said Kristin Williamson, Children's Services Manager for the system. “Families loved all of the activities we planned, from meeting an author and listening to stories, to dancing to the Sugar Free Allstars and visiting the book bus to pick out a book to keep."
To learn more about ReadOKC or how you can support the OKCPS Foundation and local students, classrooms and teachers, visit okckids.com.