Words spilled out into the streets last week during several Moonshot Word Collector Pop-Up events co-hosted by the Learning Alliance and local law enforcement agencies to celebrate National Summer Learning Week.
The Learning Alliance’s Moonshot Reading Rocket along with Luna, the Literacy RV, traveled around the county, visiting children enrolled in summer learning programs at the Dasie Bridgewater Hope Center, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County in Fellsmere and Sebastian, and several elementary schools.
The week-long celebration ended Friday afternoon at Pocahontas Park, where youngsters enjoyed literacy games and activities based on “The Word Collector” by Peter H. Reynolds, about a boy who collects words.
Bridget Lyons, TLA’s Arts/Literacy educator and manager of the Reading Rocket, brought the book to life through song and movement, encouraging the children to help her “collect” words during an interactive literacy encounter.
The children could build their own words using letter tiles, before capturing their favorite words on canvas and then placing them on the Moonshot Word Wall, a roving Arts Literacy installation.
To round out the afternoon, youngsters received free books, cooled off with ice cream, played Jenga with giant blocks and listened to VBPD Chief David Currey reading Mélanie Watt’s book, “Scaredy Squirrel.”
Other officers stopped by to add their own words to the wall and promote Reynolds’ message: “Reach for your own words. Tell the world who you are and how you will make it better.”
“Literacy is important,” said Currey, commenting on the relationship between knowledge and criminal behavior. “The more people that have jobs and that are going in a positive direction with their life, the less we see as far as crime goes and issues out in the field. It all goes hand in hand.”
National Summer Learning Week was founded 25 years ago by the nationwide National Summer Learning Association to bring together community organizations, summer learning programs and families to promote the importance of children continuing to learn during the summer.
The concept is a cornerstone in the Learning Alliance’s mission to stop the summer slide and meet its ultimate goal of having 90 percent of Indian River County children reading at grade level by the third grade.
For more information, visit thelearningalliance.org.