Chin perched on her hands, 8-year-old Emily Kirkland sat cross-legged in the front row.
Rapt, Emily listened to WFAA news anchor Cynthia Izaguirre read the popular children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon, about a boy whose imagination takes him on an adventure.
“My mom calls me a bookworm,” said Emily , a third-grader at Morningside Elementary School in Fort Worth. “I love all books, but my favorite book is the dictionary.”
Emily and and hundreds of other school-age children from across Tarrant County participated Sunday in “Wild about Reading” at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The annual event, sponsored by United Way of Tarrant County, aims to improve literacy and help ensure that children are reading at grade level by third grade.
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More than 2,100 parents and children attended story time by local celebrities, including Izaguirre, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Fort Worth Superintendent Walter Dansby. Each child received up to four free books.
“We want to reach out to kids and parents to show them how important and how fun reading is,” said Emily Furney, vice president for resources under management at United Way of Tarrant County. “This starts with building home libraries.”
Vincent Daniels, 5, a kindergartner at Dunn Elementary in Fort Worth, read Franklin Goes to the Hospital with Arlington school Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos. Vincent said he loves to read We’re Going on a Lion Hunt, which he first read at last year’s “Wild about Reading.”
Maybe, he said, he will pick up a new favorite after today.
Cavazos urged kids to develop a love for reading.
“It’s really important that you learn to read and that you keep reading for a long, long time,” Cavazos said. “Reading lets you take adventures to other places.”