Photo Gallery: Richland School District One promotes literacy with Reading Rocks Digital event

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Richland School District One celebrated its 12th annual Reading Rocks Digital literacy extravaganza Saturday at W.G. Sanders Middle School. The event encourages students and parents to appreciate and enjoy reading and to connect with resources to improve literacy.

“Reading is the foundation of school,” said Ida Williams Thompson, director of Instructional Technology Services. “It levels the playing field.”

This year’s event focused on digital technology’s impact on literacy. Richland Library brought their Play Freely bus to show families how iPads, tablets, smartphones and other devices can be used to access the library’s online resources.

“We love Richland One. They are one of our favorite partners,” said community outreach librarian Laura Kennett.

Members of the Columbia Writers Alliance returned for their fourth year to network and promote writing among young people.

“There are a lot of people whose walls are papered with rejection and that can be discouraging,” said Jerlean Noble, founder and president of the Columbia Writers Alliance. “This opportunity shows that they can be writers. Writing is healing.”

Former National Teacher of the Year and award-winning author Sharon Draper, author and illustrator Floyd Cooper, Marvel Comics illustrator and Benedict College professor Sanford Greene were invited to speak about their work and sign books for enthused readers.

“Reading is the core of everything. It’s essential,” Draper said.

Reading Rocks highlighted the importance of capturing kids early with a love for reading to improve academic success in the classroom. Officials with organizations like Reading Is Fundamental, City Year and Richland One’s adult and extended education programs promoted resources that can help families, schools and the community at-large close literacy gaps.

“It’s nice to see the little ones because we hope that by the time they get to us they’re prepared,” said Rosie Harris, a City Year volunteer that mentors students at Heyward Gibbes Middle School.

Thompson said student achievement also must include parent involvement.

“Parents are the immediate source for children,” she said.

Categories: Education