Reading with the Stars event held

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A group of area children spent part of their evening, Reading with the Stars, on Thursday night.

Students at Fox Meadow Elementary traveled back to school with their parents for a chance to listen to local celebrities read to them.

Director of the Education Renewal Zone at Arkansas State University, Jill Clogston, said the night was an opportunity to promote reading with kids.

"We are having an evening of reading and family time with the kids," Clogston said. "It's all to promote family reading and is a part of the Arkansas Department of Education and even our Governor's office. This is part of the RISE initiative or Reading Increases Student Excellence."

Clogston said it's about getting kids in the habit of reading.

"It's just to promote a culture of reading," Clogston said. "And as we know, the more kids read the better off they'll be in school and in their future. So, we just want to have some fun. We have some ASU athletes here. We even have some special guests. Howl and Scarlett will be here along with one of our radio personalities. It's just going to be a lot of fun."

Professor of Early Childhood Education at Arkansas State University, Beverly Gilbert, said she agreed to participate in order to help stress the importance of reading with parents.

"This event is so exciting," Gilbert said. "Just to have the opportunity to speak with children and parents and talk to them about all the fun things we have planned for them at Arkansas State. And also, just to focus with the parents on the purposes of reading in the summer and all the values and benefits to children. We know there is so much loss of learning that can occur during the summer and we want to prevent that and we want to keep that from happening."

Volleyball athlete and student at Arkansas State University, Carlisa May, was one of the volunteer readers.

She said she wanted to be a part of the night for the chance to give back to the community.

"There's so much knowledge and power in reading," May said. "And just for us to be able to experience and read to the kids and give back to the community, it's a really great experience for us. And a lot of the student-athletes, we love doing it."

Clogston said it's never too early to start reading to your kids.

"For parents, you just can't start reading to them too soon," Clogston said. "For the fathers out there, let your child hear you read to them. I know a lot of times the mothers get this task to read to their child. But mom's and dad's collectively need to spend time reading and the sooner the better."

Gilbert stressed the importance of reading to your children during the summer months.

"Read every day to your children," Gilbert said. "It doesn't matter what types of books or how many times you've read those books. Just read every day to your children. Also, I would stress to the parents to go to the library in the summer. That's a wonderful opportunity. You can get free books and take them home to read with your children. You can never read too much. It's good for children to see parents reading, as well. And for them to be role models. So, at night instead of turning on the TV take an opportunity to read. Do that for yourself and your family and have a reading time nightly."

The event was a partnership with the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library.

Representatives from the library handed out books and bookmarks to the children that attended at the end of the evening.

This is the second year for them to hold the event.

For more information about reading programs for children available at Arkansas State University, click here.

To learn more about the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library, click here.

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