Read to Your Child Days, round 4, held in Rockwell
By Steve Huffman
ROCKWELL ó The latest round of Read to Your Child Days was held Wednesday in Rockwell.
Turnout was darn good.
“Look at all those kids,” said Rockwell Mayor Beau Taylor, motioning toward an assortment of little ones lined up and waiting for a variety of goodies. “Our biggest problem has been parking. The kids are having a blast.”
Wednesday was Round 4 of Read to Your Child Days, an event sponsored by the city of Salisbury and Rowan County. For the past four Wednesdays, the event has been shuttled from one municipality to another.
Wednesday’s was held at the East Branch of Rowan Public Library in downtown Rockwell. Next Wednesday is the grand finale, scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cleveland Town Hall at 302 E. Main St.
Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz said 700 children turned out for the first day of the event last month at Rowan Public Library. There were 350 children at Spencer’s Library Park the following week and 500 last week at the South Rowan Branch Library.
Kluttz said a guesstimate of Wednesday’s number hadn’t been made by about 6 p.m., but added, “I’m predicting another huge turnout.”
She said she was especially pleased that the mayors of every municipality involved have participated by reading to the children. A variety of other county leaders have done likewise by volunteering their time to the project.
Kluttz said leaders have tried to stage the events at libraries throughout the county.”We wanted to connect people to the fact that the library is free and something they should take advantage of,” Kluttz said.
Each child left with a book of his or her choosing. Kluttz credited Karen Wilkinson, public information officer for the city of Salisbury, with securing quality publications for the project.
Dan Peters, Granite Quarry’s town administrator, was also at Wednesday’s gathering. Like other community leaders, he basked in the success of the program.
“We expected it to be good,” he said, “but this is great.”
The program came about as a result of a February retreat where Dr. Suzanne Morse, author of “Smart Communities,” warned Salisbury City Council members that children not reading at grade level by the third grade have a strong potential to become high school dropouts.
City and county leaders met in May with members of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to outline an initial program focused on reading.