Readers, Artists and Dreamers Day Inspires Children

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    Songwriter Joe Scruggs charmed the audience.
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    Latina educator, writer and songwriter Maria Smith entertains while teaching.
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    Art projects require full attention of students.
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    Children work on art projects at Readers, Artists and Dreamers Day.
March 9, 2005

by Judy Long

Music and stories entertained 1,200 second graders March 8 at Baylor University's Ferrell Center for the sixth annual Readers, Artists, and Dreamers Day. The main event featured songwriter and storyteller Joe Scruggs, who kept the crowd riveted to their seats with his humorous music and dancing. Literacy activities including art, music, magic, puppets and stories all sent the message of the importance and fun of reading.

Talented local artists, such as storyteller Vivian Rutherford of the McLennan Public Library; puppeteer Rick Strot, a Baylor education professor; and magician Todd McKinney, whose message is "Read to Succeed," offered a wealth of excitement with a literacy theme.

Local police, firefighters, a zoo keeper and other professionals were also there to read stories in small groups where children could meet and talk to them.

Event facilitator Jane Wilkinson, co-owner of MindPrime, said teacher response to the event was excellent. "The experience was powerfully positive for our students, their teachers and chaperones. Our volunteers repeatedly said, 'It was a joy!'"

Sponsor support from numerous local organizations, including McLennan Public Library, MindPrime, Follett Books, CEFCO, ARAMARK, Compass Christian Bookstore, Baylor libraries and others, enabled Central Texas schools to attend at no cost.

The event is coordinated by "Building a Nation of Readers, Artists and Dreamers," a local non-profit organization whose mission is to cultivate a new generation of readers, artists and dreamers by providing children close personal contact with authors and artists to challenge them in reading, creativity and learning.

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