The second annual Bulloch County Reading Carnival, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at Statesboro High School, will offer games, music, food and other attractions of a real carnival, as well as a book giveaway, storytellers and activities to spark summer reading.
Designed for children from infancy through 12th grade along with parents or other accompanying adults, the carnival is held inside the school. The doors will be open on the gym side.
Volunteers will staff interactive reading stations. Each is designed to pique children’s interest about a specific book, author, character or book series. Olivia Davis, a descendant of the Gullah-Geechee people of coastal Georgia, will perform as Mama Peg in “Mama Peg Tells Gullah Stories.” A group from Abeni Cultural Arts in Savannah will perform African dance and drumming, and the Family Literacy initiative is scheduled to provide two puppet shows.
“It’s a time to celebrate reading,” said Bulloch County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mary Felton. “Students have gone through a whole year, and we’re trying to celebrate reading and remind students of the importance of reading beyond the school day, and when school is out to encourage and motivate them to read during the summer.”
Felton, who is leaving the Bulloch County school system after this school year ends, and Lawanda Allen, chorus teacher at Langston Chapel Middle School, founded the reading fair with the one held in 2016.
Efforts to collect “gently used” books have been underway throughout the year, Felton said. School media specialists and some churches and businesses help collect the books. Volunteers at the Boiling Shrimp set up a display inside the restaurant for book donations. Glenn Bailey, logistics teacher at Statesboro High, has passed donated books along to the reading fair both years.
Before last year’s carnival, more than 3,000 donated books were collected for free distribution, Felton reported. This year’s books have not been counted yet.
Leading up to the reading fair, the Bulloch County school system is hosting a district-wide reading competition for prekindergarten through high school students. Participants who complete their Reading Passports could win gift cards, eReaders, a bicycle, a laptop or other prizes.
Reading stations include “Real Men Read” and “Reading Women’s Secret Garden” where men and women from the community, such as school principals, will read to children. The “Secret Garden” combines a tea party theme with classic stories.
Planned games include inflatables for children and a tug-o-war.
The African American Business Owner Community Foundation awarded a $2,000 grant in support of this year’s carnival, becoming the largest monetary donor. Many other businesses and organizations have contributed, Felton said.
The Food Bank Inc. provides donated food for the lunches served to students and parents in the concession area. Vendor booths are also part of the carnival.
University fraternity and sorority members are among the volunteers who put on the event. About 40 volunteers are helping, but more would be welcomed, Felton said.
She also expressed thanks to SHS Principal Dr. Ken LeCain for allowing the fair to be held in a central location with enough space for the carnival-like activities and expected turnout.
About 500 people attended last year, Felton said.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Dr. Mary Felton at (912) 212-8560, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Lawanda Allen (912) 541-0805, email@example.com.