Last week, I had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremonies for the 2018 South Carolina Read-In. This is not my first experience with this awesome event. In 2008ish, I was President of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians and as part of that “job,” I spoke at the Read-In. In 2015, I took my little with me when I was on maternity leave – she must have been just about one month old! I really love the SC Read-In!
It is a wonderful event. Basically, schools around the state (public, private, charter, day care, everyone) come together on the State House grounds to celebrate reading. It is always in April – perfect month since it is National School Library Month and the legislature is in session. The thought is if they see a big group outside, they will come out to see what the fuss is about.
This event celebrates READING and how FUN it can be to be a reader, but it also focuses on how IMPORTANT reading is and how CRUCIAL the school library and school librarian is in making reading a priority. In most cases, I would say the school librarian was the one behind getting the children to the State House. No small feat when you think about transportation, permission from parents, volunteers, t-shirts, etc.
The event starts with a parade through downtown Columbia where students hold signs that say “Kids Who Read Succeed.” Some students dress up as their favorite book characters, some hold banners to show the name of their school. Mascots are there (Mason from the Fireflies and Cocky were a couple that I saw) and there is a general sense of celebration and pride in the air as students gather. After the parade, there are remarks and entertainment of some sort. This year, there was a read aloud with Cocky’s Reading Express. The best part though, is after the parade, after the entertainment. Everyone breaks up into groups and spreads out across the lawn of the SC State House to eat lunch and READ. You walk around and see blankets, snacks, and all the books. It’s an awesome event and I hope you plan to attend next year! I know I will be there!