Reading activities and fun bring crowds at 20th annual PCR literacy festival
Swarms of people inundated Veterans Park Saturday, April 13 to enjoy the 20th anniversary of Porterville Celebrates Reading literacy festival. Over 40 booths were hosted by area high school and middle school students, as well as booths sponsored by private families, local schools, and Porterville service and social clubs. Local dignitaries read to children throughout the day, such as Judge Glade Roper and multiple City Council members, and many more book themed activities entertained visitors over the four-hour event.
Butterfield Charter High school students Abigale Miller, Taryn Doyel, and Torrie Trujillo helped children learn how to make an origami chicken bookmark that actually holds the page. Torrie said, “It’s so fun to make them.” Students had been setting up their book since about 8:30 a.m. and started making the origami chickens to hand out. The book that inspired the acrtivity was called “The Interrupting Chicken.”
Porterville Garden Club hosted a booth and they were reading to Isaac Torres, 6. He was excited and said he’d won first place in the Santa Fe Kindergarten Art Show, part of the PUSD Art Show held at Monache High School at the same time across the street. His grandmother Elena Orrantia said they go everywhere together. They were at Circle J Ranch on Monday, and Sunday they went to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Isaac said he loved the flamingos, lions, and tigers.
Burton Middle School teacher Sam Gundran said they were having students write affirmations on red paper apples to hang on a tree like an ornament.
“There are a lot more interactive booths this year,” said Terri Feagin at the Porterville Recorder booth, where children were drawing pictures to put in the newspaper. “The festival seems much larger
Children were having their faces painted at a booth where the book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” was being read.
At Olive Street Elementary’s booth, reading teacher Judy Bedell read “Max the Minnow the Googly Eyed Fish” to a bunch of children who were enthralled. A family nearby was having fun together getting their pictures taken with Googly Eye glasses. Bedell said, “We love Porterville Celebrates reading, because we celebrate reading every day.”
Catherine May said social media helped get the word out about the festival, as well as a large banner hung at Monache tennis court. Retired PUSD employee Laverne Clark came and gave a hug to May, a longtime friend and colleague.
Clark said, “I think this is a fantastic event. It helps childrens’ imagination blossom and grow educationally.”
Clark’s granddaugher, Jilian McGuire, said, “It’s really good helping people to read.”
May said they’ve been wanting to bring back guest readers to the festival, and E.M. Reptiles was a featured entertainment at the literacy festival.
“Eric Johnson always brings books into the conversation when talking about the reptiles,” said May, “He’s very educational.” May is a retired librarian and is teaching at Butterfield High School.
Judge Glade Roper dramatically read a book about a judge, and all the children were mesmerized. Roper really had their attention, and the kids were very enthusiastic at the end of the story.
“My kids learned to read at a very early age, and we didn’t have a TV. So I’m convinced that children develop their brains by reading,” said Judge Roper. “This is a wonderful activity to provide reading for children. When you read you have to visualize the thought in your brain, so it encourages creativity.”
“It’s been a terrific turnout,” said Friends of the Library volunteer and Optimist Club member Janice Whitaker. “The Friends of the Library were so happy to meet Margaret J. Slatterly’s son and daughter-in-law. To meet the son of the founder of the event was such a treat.” Whitaker said all of the service groups and volunteers had worked very hard to put the literacy festival together.
Council member Daniel Penaloza read his favorite childhood book, “The Tale of the Three Trees,” to children who really enjoyed the story.
“Reading to children really helps them fall in love with reading,” said Penaloza, who was attending the event for the first time. “We have some of the highest illiteracy rates here in Tulare County, so it’s really great to have and event that focuses on reading. It’s really exciting to see the community here. It’s been full all day.”