Various family service agencies are rallying this week to promote early childhood literacy.
Wee Read Berkshire County through the Berkshire Compact for Education has for the past few years held a county-wide literacy campaign by hosting StoryWalks and other events under a theme of one book. But due to lack of funds, a unified campaign for the public school spring vacation week couldn’t be coordinated.
Instead family service groups have partnered to sponsor regional free, public events to keep the Wee Read momentum going.
In southern Berkshire County, the CHP Family Network, South Berkshire Kids, local library and cultural institutions have partnered with the state Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Program to present events this week in Stockbridge, Lenox and Great Barrington. Each site has chosen a different book and activity.
The first event, held Tuesday, included a StoryWalk display of Katherine Ayres’ book "Up, Down, and Around" and a tour at Berkshire Botanical Garden. StoryWalks include pages of a book spread out through a indoor or outdoor space, so that readers have to move about to read the story.
Today at 11:30 a.m. and again at 2 p.m., the Lenox Library will host StoryWalk-style read-alouds of Nancy Tillman’s "Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You." On Friday, Maurice Sendak’s beloved picture book, "Where the Wild Things Are," will be on display from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Main Street in Great Barrington, starting at the Subway sandwich shop and extending to the Mason Public Library.
"There’s a big push with it, because it’s an awesome way to highlight early learning," said Allison Rada, a spokesperson with CHP. She said Cara Becker, program assistant for CHP family services has already begun planning a summer program.
In North Adams, Child Care of the Berkshires Inc. has established a StoryWalk display of B.G. Hennessy’s "Road Builders," starting at Man’s World on Marshall Street and ending at Supreme Pizza on Main Street. The book pages will be on display through Friday.
Both South Berkshire Kids and Child Care of the Berkshires share ongoing listings of early childhood literacy and family support resources on their websites, southberkshirekids.org and ccberkshire.org, respectively.