literacy under the lights

Literacy Under the Lights events are happening around the region: We’ve got details

Photo above by Thomas Park via Unsplash

It’s a western Pennsylvania tradition to gather on a Friday night at the local high school football field and cheer on the team. In recent years, school districts have begun putting a creative, educational spin on that tradition – and these family-focused events, called Literacy Under the Lights, are becoming increasingly popular.

This year, at least three local districts will be hosting Literacy Under the Lights – a celebration that takes the joy of reading out of the school library and onto the turf of the football field.

On Oct. 3, families from Lawrence, Mercer and Butler counties are invited to the Wilmington Area High School Athletic Stadium to read together, learn about local literacy resources and discover strategies to promote reading.

Along with reading, kids can complete a scavenger hunt to be entered in prize drawing at this Literacy Under the Lights event.

All families need to do is bring a blanket to sit on and a book for each family member to read. Visitors to the event, which runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m., are also welcome to bring a book or two to participate in the children’s “book swap” – leave a book, take a book.

The following night, Oct. 4, another Literacy Under the Lights event will be happening at Meadville High School football field beginning at 6 p.m. The event, hosted by Crawford Central School District, will give families a chance to meet:

  • local pre-K providers, including Meadville Children’s Center and Early Intervention at IU #5
  • local family-serving agencies, including the Martin Luther King Foundation and Community Health Services, Inc.’s WIC Program
  • local clubs including the Lions and Kiwanis
  • Allegheny College’s pre-education program
  • many other education partners, including Meadville Public Library, French Creek Conservancy, Penn State Master Gardeners

Folks from the local book store, Tattered Corners, will also be on hand along with retired teachers who are coming out for the event.

“One of my favorite parts of the evening is the Halftime Huddle,” says Dr. Ann Noonen, director of curriculum, education technology integration and community outreach at Crawford Central.

“We set 15 minutes on the scoreboard and invite families to sit on their blankets on the field and read for 15 minutes. Our announcer exclaims, ‘Alright, readers! It’s time for the Halftime Huddle! Grab your blankets and a good book while we put 15 minutes up on the clock. Did you know reading for just 15 minutes every single day can help grow and support a child’s brain development? There’s no better time to start that daily practice than right now, so head onto the field and enjoy a story with your family!’”

After a quick cheer from the Crawford cheerleaders, the announcer yells out: “Let’s go, team – HUDDLE!!”

That’s when the reading begins.

These events are also spreading south: Shaler Area School District has announced their own Literacy Under the Lights event, planned for Friday, Oct. 27 at the district’s Titan Stadium. Details are coming soon about this event, which will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Watch the Kidsburgh Calendar for more Literacy Under the Lights events!