Finished with self-made mini-books, Gavin Garcia and cousin Jeremy Trujillo turn their attention to making two large balloons their own masterpieces. The Garcia and Trujillo families learned about the event through their grandmother who works at the University of La Verne. Along with the mini-book making, children enjoyed face painting, building puppets, entering raffles, receiving free books and eating a free lunch. The University’s Literacy Center hosted the event.
Hugo Bryan Castillo
With more than 100 parents and children of all ages attending, the University of La Verne’s Literacy Center hosted its inaugural “Fall Festival of Reading” Saturday.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the festival featured activities for children and parents.
Children participated in making puppets by cutting out animal figures and gluing them onto popsicle sticks, making their own comic strips, making their own mini-books with colorful construction paper and stickers, and having their faces painted. There was also a section called Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair where kids and parents could buy all sorts of children’s literature.
La Verne resident Dena Calderon attended the festival with her 3-and-a-half-year-old son.
“The event was very interactive for the kids and the story time was great,” she said. “I like the fact that the kids can get out and not just sit around and do nothing.”
Children and parents also interacted with speakers, mainly authors of children’s books as they read children’s stories aloud to a room full of screaming and running kids and floating colorful balloons.
Irma Bran of Pomona, enjoyed the speakers more than anything.
“It was great how the speaker explained how to write a book and how she explained about the different levels of books we can choose for our kids,” she said.
In the morning, parents enjoyed free Starbucks coffee and various pastries and baked goods, while children were given fruit juice boxes. For lunch, they enjoyed soda, juices and Subway sandwiches.
Guests who signed in also received raffle tickets to win such prizes as books for children and a basket filled with spa products for the parents.
“We’re thrilled, absolutely thrilled with the turnout,” said Literacy Center Coordinator Jessica Decker.
“We didn’t know these many people were going to show up,” she added.
Decker said that 95 people called in advance for the event, but more people showed up on the day of the event.
It took a month to plan the event and set up began at 8 a.m. that day.
“It was a long month of getting volunteers, raffle prizes, and pulling together all the materials,” Decker said.
Established in 2001, the Literacy Center is operated by ULV’s education department. The event was made possible through a grant of $10,000 by the Starbucks Foundation.
The volunteers at the event were graduate students from the Masters of Reading Program at ULV and Starbucks workers.
“I was surprised by the amount of people,” said Yolanda Aquinos from Rancho Cucamonga. “I’m glad to be involved in the University and be part of the community.”
Aquinos liked the fact that the Literacy Center gives children the opportunity to get help outside of their own schools.
Decker hopes more parents visit the Literacy Center and take advantage of their resources.
“We want parents to know we’re here, we offer tutoring and that we’re a part of the community.”
Decker feels the event was a success and is very grateful for the grant given by the Starbucks Foundation.
“Because today was so successful, I hope we get to do this again,” Decker said.
For more information on the Literacy Center and upcoming events, call (909) 593-3511, Ext. 4660.
Hugo Bryan Castillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.