Young readers hooked on books at Moonshot Party

[ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”19″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_basic_imagebrowser” ajax_pagination=”0″ order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]Words flew off the page last Thursday evening, launching young readers into the world of books at the fourth annual Moonshot Moment Family Pizza Party at the Heritage Center to celebrate National Summer Learning Day.
The Learning Alliance and Moonshot Community Action Network joined literacy groups across the nation to promote summer literacy as a way to prevent the summer slide. The goal of the National Summer Learning Association is to reach 2 million children while advocating for “the importance of keeping all kids learning, healthy and safe during the summer.”
“Tonight is about the community; celebrating our children and the importance of learning over the summer,” explained Barbara Hammond, Learning Alliance co-founder. “Kids lose 25 percent of their knowledge over the summer, so we really want parents and families to read with their kids and talk with their kids so that the kids go back to school ready.”
Adam Faust, Glendale Elementary School principal and emcee extraordinaire, brought his “A” game once again, flying in on his magic carpet as a blue-clad Aladdin to the delight of eager young bookworms.
“I’m committed to helping kids and one of the ways we do that is working with our community partners,” he explained. “The Learning Alliance and the Moonshot Moment help us get our community involved with our public schools to help elevate our kids.”
The event kicked off with Vero Beach 32963’s own Samantha Rohlfing Baita, staff reporter and canine columnist Bonzo’s assistant. This time Baita brought along a different sidekick, Toto, to help read one of Bonzo’s weekly doggy “day in the life” features.
The children also listened raptly as Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey corralled some crazy monsters in Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are;” school board member Tiffany Justice inspired the children to try their best with “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper, and state Rep. Erin Grall shared “Corduroy” by Don Freeman.
To further bring stories to life, members of the Vero Beach Charter High School Drama Troupe read and enacted Jon J. Muth’s adaptation of “Stone Soup” and also performed while Assistant School Superintendent Pam Dampier read “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.
“Summer learning opportunities are so important for our students. I love the fact that Moonshot reaches out to community leaders like Chief Currey, Erin Grall and myself,” said Justice. “It helps us to engage with kids, and that’s the future of the county.” She pointed out how impactful it is for children to have strong leaders telling them, “You’re worth our time and we value you.”
After filling their heads with storybook characters, the children hunkered down to fill their bellies with pizza and ice cream sprinkled, in a nod to this year’s “Stone Soup” theme, with chocolate stones. Other themed activities included rock painting and creating chef hats and soup recipe cards.
The Moonshot Moment Reading Rocket bus was also on hand, ready to launch readers into literacy and adding to the revelry with a rousing game of corn hole, the limbo, freeze dancing and a demonstration by the Vero Beach Karate Association and Jason Wesley, the Self Defense World Champion.
The resounding message of the evening was that reading is fun!   

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