Time to hit the books. September marks National Literacy Month, with September 8 designated as International Literacy Day, a worldwide movement created by UNESCO to promote literacy efforts. 2015’s theme, Literacy and Sustainable Societies speaks to the importance of literacy, a key driver for sustainable development, as UNESCO puts it, “literacy skills are the prerequisite for the learning of a broader set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, required for creating sustainable societies.”
Literacy is foundational, not just for attaining a higher plane of knowledge, but also in building self-esteem. Palm Beach is getting in on the literacy fun with a number of reading events scheduled throughout the area. Here’s a look at where you and yours can get in on the reading fun.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park is celebrating National Literacy Month with “Wild About Reading,” ranger-led reading and nature excursions on September 5, 8, and 12. For kids of all ages, join park rangers in the shade, sip on lemonade, and enjoy a wild story from, followed by a nature walk and crafty activity tied to the story. Story times are as follows: September 5 at 10-11:30 a.m.; September 8 at 10-11:30 a.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m.; and September 12 at 10-11:30 a.m.
For self-paced readers, explore the river area on the “Discover Reading Scavenger Hunt” from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., September 5, 8 and 12. Beginning at the Kimbell Center, scavenger hunters will hit the trail along he Loxahatchee River, learning about the park’s unique wildlife, and natural and cultural history while collecting clues along the way.
- “Wild About Reading” and “Discover Reading Scavenger Hunt” are free and open the public (collect the scavenger hunt materials at the Kimbell Center to begin). On September 8, park admission is free for visitors who participate in a program, present a library book or library card, or donate a family-friendly book at the gate. For more information, visit floridastateparks.org/park/Jonathan-Dickinson.
Looking for that next book on the reading list? Try one of these fabulous reads from these Floridian authors.
For north county toddlers and youngsters with a penchant for the “Salt Life,” the Loxahatchee River Environmental Center’s weekly Starfish and Coffee Story Time is a real treat—for kids and parents. Scheduled every Thursday at 9:30 a.m., and suitable for kids ages 0-7, the story time includes book readings, songs, and interaction with the touch tank critters. For parents, Tequesta-based coffee roasters, Oceana Coffee, supplies the freshly brewed cups of Joe.
- Open to the public with no reservations required; admission is free, donations are accepted. For more information, visit loxahatcheeriver.org/environmental_center.
For South County toddlers, forget the Saturday morning cartoons, and keep those jammies on for Sugar Sand Park’s Pajama Jams Story Time with Miss Mij. Geared for kids 18 months to 2 years old (10-10:45 a.m.), and 3-4 year olds (11 a.m.-12 p.m.), this Saturday morning story time features a different theme each month and includes fingerplays (get those finger puppets ready), music, puppets, and stories.
- Dates: September 12, October 10, November 14, December 12, and January 9. Admission costs $5 per child (adult supervision required), which includes one carousel token. For more information, visit sugarsandpark.org/children-and-teen-programs.
From newborns to adults, the Palm Beach County Library System is the leading literacy advocate in the county.
With story time programs geared for children at all 17 county library branches, there is a reading session Monday through Saturday in number with a number of themes, each designed to accommodate specific age ranges and their reading/listening levels. For newborns and toddlers, to pre-k and up, story time incorporates fingerplays, songs, crafts, and dramatic interpretations and responses to the stories, helping broaden their experience, all while developing language and listening skills, as well as socialization skills, an important component for academic success. The stories are not only designed to improve reading and creative skills, but themes also play a part in teaching important lessons, from numbers, color, and occupations, to the importance of fruits and vegetables, and more. Early fall story time sessions run from September 8 through October 30, with preregistration required—except for walk-in story time sessions—check with your local library branch for times and theme.
- Click here for a complete schedule of dates, times, and themes for each Palm Beach County library branch.
For school age children, the learning possibilities are seemingly endless. From artsy activities and thematic clubs like creative LEGO builds and the Acreage Library’s Explorers’ Club—children, ages 6-12, take an interactive journey to a different part of the globe, exploring the people, places, history, culture, and even cuisine—to the all important homework helpline, the library is a treasure trove of knowledge and fun.
- For a complete listening of what the library system has to offer, click here for kids, and here for teens.
For adults either learning to read, or learning a new language, the PBC Library System’s Adult Literacy Project is a great resource to help in the process. Led by volunteer reading tutors, the program is free, with study materials provided by the library to help in the lessons, making this an invaluable resource in fighting illiteracy in South Florida. According to the library, 22 percent of U.S. adults function at the lowest levels of literacy; these programs are designed to help the more than 70,000 county residents who fall in that spectrum.
- For more information about the Adult Literacy Project, click here.
For adults looking for a bookie goodtime, the library has you covered. From book clubs and book discussions, to movie nights, craft and game clubs, and more, each PBC library branch offers a unique class or activity to bring the community together.
- Take a look at what’s to come here.