Read all about it: Event encourages kids to pick up a book this summer

By LISA CAPOBIANCO
STAFF WRITER
With summer vacation in full swing, Bristol children have an opportunity to delve in to the world of books during the Second Annual Reading on the Green.
Sponsored by the Bristol Public Library, Kids in the Middle, Early Childhood Alliance, and the Bristol Historical Society, the program is designed for younger children of reading age.
On June 28, children and families will meet author Christine Ieronimo, Meris Palmer, the Teller of Tales, and the Raggedy Ann Lady-Mary Forcier. Each child in attendance will also receive a free book giveaway, and will have a chance to win prizes.
“We decided to do it in the beginning of this summer to kick off our summer reading program,” said Valerie Toner, the supervisor of Children’s Services at Bristol Public Library.
Toner said last year’s event brought up to 50 families, noting how the children immersed themselves into the stories that were read. Meris Palmer, “Teller of Tales,” provided a story last year and will appear again this year. During the event, author Christine Ieronimo will read her book, “A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water Across the World.” Middle school students in the Kids in the Middle program will dress up as storybook animal characters, such as a purple gorilla, panda and brown bear.
Bristol’s Mary Forcier, who has a Raggedy Ann and Andy collection of dolls, also will be in attendance.
“We thought it would be fun to invite another Bristol personality,” said Toner.
Besides interacting with authors, children also will enjoy “Reading to Dogs,” which are certified trained therapy dogs that listen attentively when youngsters read.
“It’s a good way to practice their reading,” said Toner, adding how the event will help children be better prepared once the new school year begins again.
The idea of having a “Reading on the Green” originated when Ellie Wilson, the chair of the Program Committee at the Bristol Historical Society, found an article about how another community in Connecticut had a book sale on its town green. After reading about the event, Wilson said she thought Bristol could do something similar that would encourage parents to continue fostering their children’s literacy skills while bringing different local agencies and organizations together.
“It is a wonderful leisure,” said Wilson, who worked at the library for 39 years. “Hopefully it will encourage families to read with their children.”
Bob Adamczyk, secretary of the Program Committee at the Bristol Historical Society hopes the program will help children develop a larger interest in reading.
“It’s important they learn how to read and get value out of it,” said Adamczyk, adding he would like to see the program extended to a wider age group of children, such as middle school students.
Reading on the Green will take place Saturday, June 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the Federal Hill Green. The rain date is set for Sunday, June 29. The program is free and no registration is required. Families are encouraged to bring blankets or beach chairs.
Comments? Email lcapobianco@Bristol Observer.com.