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Friday, April 13, 2012

Free books to promote reading at Nashua North’s ‘Literacy Day’

NASHUA – Reading and writing skills will be the focus of Saturday’s Literacy Day at Nashua High School North, as the city will participate in the statewide initiative for the first time.

From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the high school will hand out over 8,000 books to Nashua students and families as part of a promotion of reading and books.

“Research tells us children who read and children who own their own books are more likely to read and to be better readers,” said Helen Fanning, a literacy teacher at Nashua North. “The goal is to get books out there and help students build their personal libraries.”

Nearly all of the 8,000 books to be given out are brand new, she said, with some donations also coming from the Used Book Superstore in Nashua.

The event will appeal most to children aged 3 to 8, Fanning said, but there will be chapter books for teenagers and older students for those in middle and high school.

“We want to have everything covered,” Fanning said.

This year is the fifth Literacy Day in New Hampshire to promote reading and writing, but the first for Nashua. Littleton High School and Merrimack-Valley Middle and High Schools in Penacook will both host Literacy Day events as well.

The events are held in collaboration with the Granite State Reading Council, which is part of the International Reading Association.

Fanning said she and her daughter volunteered last year at the Literacy Day event in Penacook where over 2,000 kids showed up, all excited about reading.

“The energy in the building was just amazing,” she said. “I was so impressed. They were giving out 10 books to each child that came.”

The goal is to continue the event in Nashua every year as an annual celebration of reading, Fanning said.

WMUR’s Erin Fehlau will read stories for children and there will be a craft room for kids, as well as a variety of other activities.

Many local businesses and organizations will appear at the Literacy Day event as well, including: Squam Lakes Science Center, Nashua Fire and Police Departments, LegoYourMind, Nashua Silver Knights, Nashua Public Library.

North Principal David Ryan said the day will emphasize reading and promote books – an important message to students because of the benefits of reading and the need to improve literacy skills to meet increasing statewide testing standards.

“Literacy Day is important and symbolic,” Ryan said in an e-mail. “It helps bring to the forefront the importance of literacy skills in our children. It also is important to recognize that the new Common Core Standards are built on literacy skill development through all of the content areas.”

For additional information on Nashua Family Literacy Day, please email Fanning at fanningh@nashua.edu.

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or ckittle@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Kittle on Twitter (@Telegraph_CamK).