Several of the books to be featured during weekend event relate to agriculture.
By Kay Shipman
Book lovers of all ages will find a literary feast Saturday when the Illinois Reads book festival comes to DuQuoin High School, DuQuoin.
“To have this opportunity is such a gift to our area,” said Louise Stearns, an education professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and member of the Illinois Reads committee. “This will help children understand the value of literacy.”
Illinois Reads is a statewide literacy initiative sponsored by the Illinois Reading Council. Each year, the initiative selects a number of books written by Illinois authors suitable for infants up to adults. The authors and their books are promoted through events and activities.
“Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) is excited to be a partner with Illinois Reads featuring books by Illinois authors for Illinois kids,” said Kevin Daugherty, IAITC education director. “IAITC-endorsed author Deborah Ruddell, Crawford County native and author of ‘The Popcorn Astronaut,’ will be present. It is a perfect location to talk about Illinois specialty crops.”
Tammy Potts, chairperson of Illinois Reads, said this marks the first time the book festival will take place in in southern Illinois. The event is free and open to the public. Visit this link for more information.
Potts said several of the books are related to agriculture, including Ruddell’s poetry collection that was highlighted at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in Chicago, and an award-winning book about wheat harvest titled, “The Thing About Luck.”
Stearns noted the festival offers an opportunity to talk with authors and have books autographed. About 15 authors, many from the Chicago area, and one illustrator are expected to participate.
In addition to the authors’ introduction of their books, the festival will offer young readers a variety of arts, crafts and a scavenger hunt based on one of the stories, according to Potts.
For those unable to attend the book festival, Illinois Reads will continue through the year. The list of books selected for 2018 is available at illinoisreads.org. Potts noted activities related to several of the books are also available.
Reading books shapes kids’ development
Children gain much more than great stories when they are exposed to books, especially at a young age, according to Stearns.
According to Stearns, research has shown physical books help children gain:
- Critical early learning skills, including holding a book right side up, reading a page from top to bottom and a book from front to back.
- Opportunities to increase their attention spans.
- Increase a desire to become lifelong readers and lifelong learners.
- Foster relationships with those who read stories to them, especially multigenerational relationships.
Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.