According to KIDS COUNT, a national and state-by-state effort to track the wellbeing of American children, reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a crucial marker in a child’s educational development. Failure to read proficiently is linked to higher school dropout rates, which is why promoting literacy among young children is so crucial.
On Wednesday, April 10, the Penn Museum will help spread the love of books with a free night of reading, storytelling, and hands-on activities to celebrate literacy.
The Museum’s “Philadelphia READS! Community Night,” to be held from 5 to 8 p.m., will be presented in collaboration with the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s GroundSwell initiative.
“We’re really looking to get our community’s families here,” says Jean Byrne, community engagement director at the Penn Museum. “It’s open to all audiences and all ages.”
The event will not only offer families an opportunity to view the Museum’s galleries at no cost, but will also engage guests with a plethora of programs led by curators, collections keepers, and graduate students. Visitors may enjoy dance performances inspired by literature and folklore, hear young writers share their original poetry, or practice their hand at writing in ancient Sumerian or Egyptian hieroglyphs.
“This is an opportunity for parents to bring children to our Museum at a young age and encourage them to be lifelong museum-goers,” says Byrne. “Visiting a museum is just a really enjoyable way to learn.”
The April 10 Community Night also serves as the kickoff to a month-long book drive. Attendees are invited to bring new or gently used books, suitable for pre-school to elementary school-aged children. The donations will go to local organization Philadelphia Reads, which has given more than a quarter of a million books to classrooms since 2006. Adrienne Jacoby, executive director of Philadelphia Reads, is a Graduate School of Education alumna.
“The book drive is an opportunity for Penn’s campus to come together to make a difference in Philadelphia’s schools,” Byrne says.
Books will be collected until Sunday, May 12, at five campus locations: the Penn Museum, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the Arthur Ross Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Office of Government and Community Affairs.
For more information about the event and the book drive, visit the Penn Museum website.
Originally published on March 28, 2013