Reading Day draws crowd

May 02, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

HAGERSTOWN - Even as society becomes more and more dependent on computers, the printed word still is king, organizers of a reading fair showed.

Hundreds of children and their parents came to Hagerstown Community College's Alumni Amphitheater Saturday to participate in Washington County Reading Day.

Phoenix Color Inc. in Hagerstown donated 600 boxes of new books. Children also got to choose from 1,600 used books collected by organizers.


At the end of the four-hour event, there were barely enough books left to fill a bookshelf.

"I thought we would be hauling boxes away," said Arnold Hammann with the Washington County Board of Education, one of the volunteers.

Parents and their children flocked to the event on a picture-perfect first day of May.

Magicians and singers provided entertainment. Face-painting, balloon sculptures and food rounded out the event.

Everything was free, thanks to donations from businesses and individuals, said organizers with Partners in Literacy, a subcommittee of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

Children's author Michelle Green and Herald-Mail writer and author Tim Rowland were among the local celebrities signing their books.

Cara Corson of Boonsboro brought her 7-year-old daughter Serena, who wants to be a book illustrator someday.

"She's excited to have these books. We were excited to meet the local authors," she said.

Hammann said he doesn't think computers will ever replace books.

"You curl up with a book. You don't curl up with a laptop," he said. "It's been amazing. The kids have been gravitating toward the books."

Partners in Literacy wanted to promote reading as a fun and important activity, Hammann said.

Vickie Kane of Boonsboro said her son Grant, 10, saw the event advertised in the newspaper and asked to go.

"He was jumping on it. He wanted to be here," she said.

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