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Who knew that reading could be so fun?  Should I cuddle with my favorite stuffed animal and listen to a bedtime story, join a sing along with your favorite nursery rhymes and songs, or listen to the storyteller entertain with tales and fables!

On Saturday, March 14, 2009, approximately 150 children from the Head Start program in White Plains enjoyed all these activities at the 2nd Annual Family Literacy Fair hosted by the Junior League of Central Westchester (JLCW) at the White Plains Public Library.

The children joined a host of fun, literacy-focused activities which were designed to encourage reading skills.  The kids and their families and caregivers found opportunities to expand vocabulary through role-playing activities like shopping for groceries.   While the kids had fun hearing bedtime stories in an area filled with heaps of stuffed animals, parents were reminded of the importance of a daily dose of reading to their kids.   Even the sing along with Luke Montgomery and story telling by Jonathan Kruk were literacy building activities as the children singing and listening learned new vocabulary.  At the crafts table, children made book boxes and book marks.  At the end of the event, each child left the fair with armloads of books to take home.

“What an appropriate fun way to promote the importance of literacy by having it in a library.  It is wonderful to send the families home with a bag filled with an assortment of quality children’s literature”, described Barbara Sommer, senior program director at Family Services of Westchester.  “The kids were just beaming.  They were so proud to be leaving with those books.”

This is the second year that the Junior League of Central Westchester has presented the Family Literacy Fair.  As JLCW President Lisa Copeland described, “In this time of economic stress, illiteracy is the number 1 indicator of poverty in the US.  Literacy is crucial to a family’s educational, social and economic health.  We are delighted to present the Family Literacy Fair as a continuation of the JLCW ‘s 50 year commitment to promote literacy.”

The Family Literacy Fair was held in partnership with Family Services of Westchester and the White Plains Public Library.  Target Corporation provided financial support for the Family Literacy Fair as a part of their literacy initiatives.