The Schenectady County Public Library (SCPL) and Friends of SCPL are iconic institutions in the area’s educational and cultural life. I’m delighted that they are supporting The Reading Is Fun Program (RIF)’s first annual Grand Reading Jamboree, to be held in the historic Proctors Theatre complex, donated for the event, on April 21, noon to 4 p.m. RIF’s many volunteers promote early-childhood literacy by working on foundational reading and conversational skills and vocabulary with especially challenged 4-9-year-olds in pre-K, Kindergarten, and Grades 1-3 in the Schenectady City School District. The Jamboree is keyed to that mission.
Friends is funding Nina Crews, a leading children’s-book author of color, to participate in the Jamboree and it’s defraying the cost of two costumed famous children’s-book characters, Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Thing Two. Another outstanding children’s-book author of color, Ty Allan Jackson, is joining Nina Crews at the Jamboree, to resonate with an anticipated large gathering, especially with those from Schenectady’s communities of color SCPL will issue library cards at the Jamboree and organize a book-nook with diverse literacy activities for young children and literacy information for adults.
The Jamboree will be for about, and by Schenectady children — about getting and keeping them on the reading track, for all of their lives. In that interest, RIF has arranged for the outstanding Culinary Arts Department at the Steinmetz Career and Learning Academy, an off site part of Schenectady High School, to cater the event, which many children’s books and other items will be gifted to the youngsters.
CDTA is donating buses for those needing rides and from the Jamboree.
The writer is founder and executive director of The Reading Is Fun Program (RIF). He is an emeritus professor of political science at University at Albany/SUNY.