School marquees across town are advertising the 20th annual Porterville Celebrates Reading literacy event on Saturday, April 13 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Porterville Veterans Park. Filled with dozens of free literacy activities, this annual event for elementary school children is attended by thousands. 

Area schools including Porterville Unified School District, the Burton School District and Rockford will host dozens of booths that promote literacy. Students get a paper stop sign necklace and after each literacy activity is completed, one side is hole punched. Once they successfully get a punch on all eight sides, they can turn in their completed stop sign for a new book. 

There are many additional ways of receiving a free book at this event.  Friends of the Library and the PUSD Warehouse will again be giving away gently used books. Westfield hosts a Book Bingo and Vandalia sponsors a Book Walk. 

Many booths again this year are sponsored not just by teachers from various schools but by community organizations such as Porterville Recorder, Porterville Public Library, Porterville American Legion, and Sierra View Medical Center. Other community partners such as the Porterville College Otaku Club, SJVC, and Imagine Arts have also stepped up to offer book activities for Porterville youth. 

Last week at the city council meeting in honor of the 20th annual PCR event, the City of Porterville made a proclamation that April 13th was Porterville Celebrates Reading Day. Four student leaders from the Monache CSF group accompanied by their advisor Grant Wagner described how they attended Porterville Celebrates Reading as children and now are volunteering at this impactful event. 

Monache’s theme this year is Wreck It Ralph - which they are calling Read it Ralph. Come pose with their life size cut out of Ralph for photo ops or get your picture taken at SETCO with Betsy Ross and her activity.  The Optimist Club is hosting a visiting donkey while Bellview is reading a silly book about a lanky, honky-tonky, winky wonky donkey. 

Patience Christenson is organizing a guest reader booth where Sandi Farnsworth from the Public Library and Miss Porterville will be reading. Councilmen Reyes and Peñaloza as well as Judge Roper will take a turn in the guest reader seat. Sgt. Miller and his K-9, Police Chief Kroutil, a firefighter, and a forest service ranger are also slated to share a book at this booth. 

 Porterville Animal Shelter plans to bring dogs and WalMart drives over one of its delivery trucks. PUSD Preschool is doing Doodle Art while the Towantis are reading If I Ran the Circus. Los Robles choose The Dot, Olive is featuring Max the Minnow, and Oak Grove’s theme is Rainbow Fish. Both Roche and Summit Charter Academy Matthew booths will be reading, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Don’t miss the E & M Reptile Family Show from 11:30 to 12:30 in honor of the 20th anniversary of the event featuring many unique animals. Having personally met their thirteen foot albino python years ago, I can attest to the heart pounding fun of experiencing various reptiles up close and personal. 

Ada Twist, Scientist, is a book about a curious girl who wants to know what the world is about. Is part of Ada’s success because her hypothesizing makes a mess? Explore the Lombardi booth on Saturday and find out. 

If you love Dr.Seuss books, visit the Sequoia Middle School or Rockford booths.  Classic children’s books like The Giving Tree will be read at the Burton Middle School booth, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie will be featured at Bartlett Middle School’s booth.  

Monte Vista plans to read Who Would Win? while Buckley will read Have You Filled a Bucket? After hearing Interrupting Chicken at the Butterfield booth, participants will get to fold origami chickens. Santa Fe is offering Book Fiesta! and West Putnam is reading Cranky Bear.

 The Literacy Fair is generously sponsored by The Optimist Club of Porterville, The Porterville Education Foundation, The Porterville Breakfast Lions, and The Porterville Educators Association. 

 For more information about participating, volunteering, and getting involved contact Porterville Celebrates Reading Chair, Catherine May at 782-7057 or at

The Porterville Celebrates Reading (PCR) committee continues Margaret Slattery’s dream of promoting literacy for all students. Join them for an exciting day of reading activities at their 20th Annual Porterville Celebrates Reading Margaret J. Slattery Literacy Fair on Saturday, April 13, from 10am-2pm at Veterans Park.


Kristi McCracken, author of two children’s books and a long time teacher in the South Valley, can be reached at

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