Join the fun: Recapping Family Literacy Night’s storybook adventures

The Tooth Fairy (Lori Wilson) read her authored book, "Tooth Fairy In Disguise," to a group of children at Family Literacy Night (Amie Knowles/DOGWOOD).

By Amie Knowles

March 28, 2024

When’s the last time you read a book aloud with a loved one? If it’s difficult to answer that question, then maybe it’s time to dust off that TBR pile. 

Approximately 150 people attended the second annual Family Literacy Night at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville. It was one of the next steps local teacher Jennifer Williams (AKA The Book Lady) took toward her goal of giving away 1 million books; community organizations like Danville-Pittsylvania County United Way, city and county 4-H groups, and a multitude of others also collaborated to make the event a success. 

“Everyone is welcome,” Williams said at the event. “There’s things to do, things to play, things to make, books to read, books to learn about.”

Completely free of charge, the evening featured a plethora of hands-on learning opportunities for young readers. Dozens of tables displayed games, activities, and prizes for participants, each with its own unique theme based off of a children’s book.

Kids enjoyed an interactive game of “musical clovers” (think musical chairs) at the station featuring Adam Wallace’s How to Catch a Leprechaun. Two mannequin doll heads for children to comb and style accompanied the illustrated book Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry. Children constructed towers at the table with Stuart J. Murphy’s Jack the Builder story.

The project-based experiences helped children and adults explore common ways to enjoy practical learning. 

“It’s important for families to read together. It’s important because you want a child to learn that reading together is associated with affection, with love, with the way you feel when you crawl into your mom or grandma’s lap and they read to you,” Williams said. “We want it to sound like chocolate, not like medicine.” 

In addition to the activities, special guests greeted attendees, including Scotter, the mascot of Danville’s Otterbots baseball team, and Dollar, the local URW credit union’s mascot. The Tooth Fairy (Lori Wilson) also made an appearance, reading her authored book Tooth Fairy In Disguise.

Join the fun: Recapping Family Literacy Night's storybook adventures

Jennifer Williams and Colton Knowles enjoy Family Literacy Night (Amie Knowles/DOGWOOD).

If you missed Family Literacy Night, but you’re interested in reading with your kids, there are a multitude of online resources to help jumpstart your journey:

  • Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help. They provide a variety of articles, videos, and activities to support family reading.
  • Scholastic Parents offers a wide range of resources for parents to support their children’s literacy development, including book lists, reading tips, and family activities. It also provides articles and expert advice on fostering a love of reading in children. Website: Scholastic Parents
  • The Read-Aloud Revival is a podcast and website dedicated to helping families build a culture of reading aloud in their homes. It offers book recommendations, author interviews, and practical tips for parents to make reading a central part of family life.

The Book Lady emphasized that opening up books together is a positive experience, both for the child and their loved one.

“[It’s good] to model the importance of it. To do it as a way to bond and to learn together, to grow together,” Williams said. “Things like that.”

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.



Local News

Related Stories
Share This