“Wow, I’ve never seen this many people inside a single school, ” Read To Succeed Executive Director Lisa Mitchell says Thursday at Black Fox Elementary, surveying the crowd that has shown up for the first Me & My Family Night. “With a first time event, you just never know how many people will come. We are so amazed at the turnout.”
Hundreds of people came to Black Fox Elementary Thursday for a night of family fun centered around reading. Read To Succeed and Murfreesboro City School’s first Me & My Family Night was a huge success, drawing a crowd of more than 850 people who spent the evening winning free books, playing literacy-themed games, learning about new community resources and enjoying time with each other.
The night culminated in a drawing for some huge giveaways, including a Nook e-reader and an Xbox, among others. The gym at Black Fox was filled in every corner with families, who first listened to local children’s author Amy Parker speak about the art of writing before the lucky names were drawn.
Agencies like TennDer Care, Greenhouse Ministries, MTSU’s Dyslexia Center, Read To Succeed, Child ID Kits, United Health Care, Linebaugh Library and the Mobile Health Unit were all there to tell the community about their services; the Discovery Center showed a packed classroom some unique animals and CADCOR spoke to several groups about their “Be a Parent, Not a Peer” initiative.
People lined up in the school’s gym to play literacy-themed games, like Swat the Sound and Boggle, even participating in a Book Walk—just like a typical cake walk but with books as the prize.
Murfreesboro City Schools Community Outreach Coordinator Candy Clifford called the night a “huge success,” saying that she hopes the event inspires parents to become even more involved in their child’s education. Parents need to get involved in their children’s literacy development, Clifford said, to give them an edge in all aspects of their education.
Less than a day after the event, Read To Succeed Adult Literacy Coordinator Shelly Stanley said that at least one person had already called the organization wanting to improve his or her reading skills with the non-profit’s no-cost one-on-one tutoring program.
Focusing on reading and language is a key to success in school, says Murfreesboro City Schools ELL Liaison Marisela Tapia, who also helped coordinate the event and who provided several translators for the dozens of ELL families in attendance.
“No matter what language our students and their parents speak, language skills need to be improved in order to succeed in daily life,” Tapia said.
Read To Succeed Executive Director Lisa Mitchell said that dozens of volunteers made the night possible, helping to run the booths, games, and serve food from Jason’s Deli.
“With a first-time event, you never know how many people will come,” Mitchell said. “We are so excited that this many people came here tonight to spend time with their families. We just hope that these families got to walk away with some new books, some new information about the resources this community offers, and a new sense of just how important reading is to a family’s future success.”
Sarah Porterfield, Read To Succeed