NEWPORT, R.I. – “Oceans of Books” is the theme for this year’s March Into Reading children’s book festival, to be held Saturday, Feb. 27 at Salve Regina University.
Free and open to children of all ages and their families, the festival brings together several local authors and illustrators who host readings, workshops, book signings and other activities. No reservations are required to attend the event, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at O’Hare Academic Center on Ochre Point Avenue.
Presented by the Aquidneck Collaborative for Education and Salve Regina University, the annual reading festival brings families together to highlight the importance of reading. Local authors participating this year include Laura Backman, Carol Newman Cronin, John Brennan, Shennen Bersani, David Biedrzycki, Laura Gates Galvin and Ann Hood.
Families attending the festival will receive the March Into Reading “Captain’s Log,” a packet that contains information and coupons to local attractions and related book titles. From 10 a.m. to noon, Bersani, Biedrzycki and Brennan will give presentations, and from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Backman and Gates Galvin will serve as guest readers.
Hands-on exhibits will be hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard “Rescue Heroes” and the Pollution Prevention and Response team, the Norman Bird Sanctuary, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum. All the authors will also participate in book signings.
In addition to Saturday’s public activities, March Into Reading also brings the authors and illustrators into local schools during the day on Friday, Feb. 26, where they will meet with students, teachers and librarians in assemblies and in-class readings. Friday’s schedule is as follows:
Thompson Middle – Ann Hood, 8:45 a.m.
Sullivan – Laura Gates Galvin, 9 a.m.
Coggeshall – Laura Backman, 9 a.m.
Mellville – Shennen Bersani, 9 a.m.
Bradley School – David Biedrzycki, 9 a.m.
St. Philomena – John Brennan, 9:15 a.m.
Gaudet Middle – Carol Newman Cronin, 9:30 a.m.
Underwood – Laura Gates Galvin, 10 a.m.
Pennfield – Laura Gates Galvin, 10:30 a.m.
Elmhurst – Shennen Bersani, 10:30 a.m.
Aquidneck School – David Biedrzycki, 10:30 a.m.
Gaudet (Fourth Grade) – Carol Newman Cronin, 10:30 a.m.
Cranston-Calvert – Laura Backman, 10:30 a.m.
St. Joseph of Cluny – John Brennan, 10:45 a.m.
All Saints Academy – Laura Backman, 1 p.m.
St. Michael’s – John Brennan, 1:15 p.m.
Hathaway – Shennen Bersani, 1:15 p.m.
Portsmouth Middle – Carol Newman Cronin, 1:15 p.m.
Forest Avenue – David Biedrzycki, 1:30 p.m.
Each year, March Into Reading impacts thousands of K-5th grade students, their families, teachers and librarians by inspiring an increased interest in reading while reinforcing the importance of literacy skills.
The program is made possible this year with the support of the Hamilton Family Foundation, Target, People’s Credit Union, Rotary Club of Newport, The Newport daily News, Newport Hotel Group and Island Books.
The Aquidneck Collaborative for Education (ACE) is a unique partnership of educational institutions spearheaded and coordinated by Salve Regina’s department of education. It is a non-profit association of Aquidneck Island educational institutions that was incorporated in 1993 and includes early childhood centers, independent, parochial, private and public elementary and secondary schools, the James L. Maher Center, Salve Regina University, Newport Campus of the Community College of Rhode Island and the U.S. Naval War College.
The ACE mission is to strengthen existing relations among the educational institutions, to promote education as a community value, to provide opportunities for professional development and instructional advancement, to share facilities and resources and to foster communication among the educational institutions and within the community.
MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA are invited to report on any part of the two-day “March Into Reading” celebration, including visiting local schools on Friday, Feb. 26 and/or attending the public festival on Saturday, Feb. 27.