A two-week series of events this month in Douglas County will highlight the importance of reading, particularly for children.
The 13th annual Celebration of Literacy will feature storytelling, a musical by Roseburg High School students and a poster and bookmark contest.
There will be four public events: a reading fair at the Roseburg Valley Mall, discounted skate night at Parkview Skating, preschool bilingual story time at the Douglas County Library and a book trivia competition at the high school.
The celebration’s co-chairwoman, Maxine Durst, said the events try to encourage county residents to pick up a book.
“We feel reading is foundational for all learning. It is critical for future success and is entertaining,” she said. “If you can take a child and instill learning at an early age, you can create a reader for life.”
Altrusa International of Roseburg and the Umpqua Reading Council, the celebration’s sponsors, plan to give away more than 8,000 books at the events and at food banks. About 6,200 of the books will go to children, the event’s co-chairwoman, Mary Marshall, said.
Marshall said most of the children’s books came from a Portland-based nonprofit agency, Bazillion Books for Kids. Organizers of the celebration made multiple trips to a warehouse in Salem, where the books are stored, to sort and bring back their selections.
The group will distribute the books to 13 food pantries to hand out to children, teens and adults, Marshall said.
The two-week celebration will get underway Saturday with a reading fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Roseburg Valley Mall.
Next week, children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Umpqua Valley will make valentines for veterans at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
U.S. Forest Service personnel will come to Douglas County elementary schools to read to students in kindergarten through third grade.
Parkview Skating on Feb. 18 will offer a discount to children who bring in a list of books they’ve read since the start of the school year.
Johnny Lake, assistant professor of education at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, will give motivational speeches to middle and high school students on the topic of bullying. He also will discuss literacy and the need to stay in school.
Students in Roseburg High’s musical theater class will perform a musical for elementary school students Feb. 18-24 on the importance of reading.
On Feb. 20, the Douglas County Library in Roseburg will host a Spanish-English bilingual story time for preschoolers.
The celebration’s culminating event will be the regional Battle of the Books competition Feb. 22 at the RHS Student Center.
Teams of students from Douglas and Lane counties will compete against each other on trivia from books on reading lists, Durst said. Two teams from each of the three class divisions will advance to the state competition.
• Reporter Jessica Prokop can be reached at 541-957-4209 and firstname.lastname@example.org.