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USM Council to Present Annual Read Across America Day in April

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 18:09pm | By: Van Arnold

Getting books into the hands of children who might not otherwise have access to them is the driving force behind The University of Southern Mississippi’s Read Across America Day celebration set for April 18 at Chain Park in Hattiesburg.

The 3rd annual program is presented by USM’s Council on Community Literacy and Reading. The event, to be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., is designed for children ages 0-8 and their families and features fun reading games and activities for everyone. Each child will receive free books for the activities that they complete.

“Studies have shown that book ownership is a significant predictor of a child’s reading ability, yet purchasing books is financially out of reach for many families in our community,” said Dr. Catharine Bomhold, associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science at USM and chair of the USM Council on Community Literacy and Reading. “The council strives to fill this gap at Read Across America Day by providing high quality books to children for free.”

In addition to the literary activities, the day’s events also will include a bouncy house, literacy information for parents of very young children and treats for the kids. The event is free and open to the public.

Bomhold points out that one of the event’s primary objectives is to promote reading for fun by children and families. USM students will take an active part in all of the planned activities.

“We encourage family participation,” she said. “While children are completing the literacy-based activities, our volunteers talk to the parents about the importance of reading out loud to their children and provide tips on making it fun for everyone. This is important because we know that the more a child enjoys the reading experience the more they will read and the stronger their reading skills will be in the long run.”

The USM Council on Community Literacy and Reading is seeking booth sponsors for the Read Across America Day event. Each sponsorship includes a booth with the sponsor’s name; all supplies and instructions for the activities; up to 100 children’s books to give to participants; and a tent, tables, chairs, and Read Across America Day decorations.

For more information about sponsorships, contact Dr. Bomhold at