A Good Read: Chelsea Family Literacy Day is November 1

There is a reason that Chelsea Family Literacy Day was nominated for one of the esteemed All-Chelsea Awards in the Project of the Year category.

Actually there are more than 800 reasons – that’s the number of children and parents who enjoyed last year’s reading extravaganza at the Chelsea Public Library, making it one of the most popular youth-oriented events in the city.

While Bob Collins helped shepherd Literacy Day to prominence during his reign as Library Director, it’s now Library Director Sarah Gay leading our city’s treasured institution and standing at the helm of the Ninth Annual Literacy Day organizing committee. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1 at the library.

In addition to Gay, the key organizers of the event are new Children’s Librarian Martha Boksenbaum, Raising A Reader Outreach Coordinator Laura Keenan, and Chelsea-Revere Family Network Coordinator Jeanette Velez, who is chairperson of the Chelsea School Committee, Joanne Stone-Livon of CAPIC, Latimer Society Co-Director Ronald Robinson, and Bob Collins, who remains on the library staff in a senior librarian role. The Chelsea Interact Club will assist at Literacy Day.

City Manager Jay Ash has been a strong supporter of the event.

Gay said the event’s format will remain unchanged.

“We pretty much kept it the same because everyone really enjoys what we have,” said Gay. “But this year we are adding for the older kids a spoken word poetry slam contest.”

Gay said all activities are literacy based. There will be 16 different activity stations. The guest readers include Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque, State Rep. Roselee Vincent, Police Sgt. David Flibotte, and Police Sgt. John Noftle.

Velez said she works with pre-school children in her profession and understands the foundation that literacy sets for students’ formal educational training.

“I work with pre-school children so I’m very invested in this event because it’s promoting literacy and it’s the main thing the children need to be prepared to go on through school,” said Velez.

Keenan said the Raising A Reader program welcomed the opportunity to get involved an event that promotes literacy.

“Raising A Reader is an early literacy program for children up to age five and we do a form of reading called dialogic reading which is mainly we want the parents to have a dialogue with the children rather than read the words on the page.”

Other highlights of the event include the appearances of costumed characters and the distribution of free backpacks with books to all participants.

Boksenbaum said she is excited to be a part of her first Literacy Day in the city.

“I think it’s an absolutely wonderful activity and I think it’s great that it’s so big,” said Boksenbaum. “Literacy doesn’t always get a front-stage of a spotlight as it really should and so I was really delighted when I discovered that the event was not only important to the library but to the entire community. It’s really great that Chelsea has such a strong network of organizations that all help each other. That’s really wonderful.”

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