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Big Read Brings Out St. Croix Students

Feb. 28, 2009 – Close to 1,000 public and private school students of all ages marched Friday from the Frederiksted post office to Budhoe Park to celebrate The Big Read, an event sponsored by the V.I. Council on the Arts (VICA).
The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, is designed to restore reading to the center of American culture.
“According to the Department of Education there is a noticeable drop in literacy, so we need to encourage kids and adults to get back into reading,” said Tasida Kelch, VICA special projects coordinator. “We want to encourage everybody in that reading is the best past time.”
Ten copies of the book A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, reader's guides and book markers were distributed to participating schools earlier in the year. VICA selected the book, a tale about the maturing of a fantasy superhero.
Tables were set up around the park with give-aways, activities, crafts and interactive games.
Students who read the book and answered questions correctly about characters and events in the book, won copies of A Wizard of Earthsea along with colorful kites in the shape of ships, dragons and butterflies.
Students played a letter scramble game with foam magnetic letters stuck to the side of the St. Croix book mobile. The winners who correctly unscrambled the letters to form words pertaining to books won a hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, courtesy of the Division of Libraries and Museums under Planning and Natural Resources.
“I am very happy I won a copy of this book,” said Ebonie Farrell, a student at St. Joseph's. “It is one I haven't read yet.” Farrell unscrambled letters spelling index.
The students also had a tour of the book mobile and had the chance to sign up for a library card.
“This was a great collaboration and partnering with different groups,” said Ingrid Bough, territorial libraries director. “We need to have more fun activities like this in celebration of literacy and reading.”
Local author Karen Thurland spoke to students about the book she has written about her grandfather, entitled Peter G. Thurland, Master Cabinet Maker and Bandleader.
“This event made students aware of authors and writing,” said Jane Kelley, librarian at Arthur A. Richards Junior High.
“This was a good turnout,” said Betty Mahoney, VICA executive director. “St Croix always comes out strong. I really appreciate the collaboration of the staff, partners and schools.”
The second annual Big Read U.S. Virgin Islands was presented by VICA in partnership with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the Division of Libraries and Museums, the Department of Education and the Reichhold Center for the Arts, University of the Virgin Islands.
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