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Lunch and literacy come together at CADL


WEDNESDAY, June 6 — Book lovers, and some of those with an on-again, off-again relationship with reading, will be gathering to discuss what it is that keeps them reading, and how they can build that joy around reading for other people. WKAR and Capital Area District Libraries have come together to host a luncheon and Literacy Fair on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at CADL’s downtown Lansing branch.

"As a citizen, reading is necessary in every aspect of our lives," Robin Pizzo said. She’s the director of education at WKAR and will be facilitating the lunch discussion. "It is the one skill that can connect anyone to another person."

The discussion will focus on why literacy is indispensable, how society is affected by books and how a love of reading can be bolstered. Anyone is invited to participate, though Pizzo says she’s particularly interested in helping people who have been separated from reading to re-engage with books.

“Hopefully, they’ll foster that love of reading again,” she said.

Attendees will also get to talk with organizations at the Literacy Fair, including representatives from WKAR’s Radio Reading Service, the Capital Area Literacy Coalition, the Master Tutor and Reading Corps.

"All of this is to continue to really talk about the importance of books and literacy and how these books have shaped us as a society," Pizzo said.

The event is part of a summer program sharing a focus with The Great American Read, hosted by Meredith Vieira on PBS. They have assembled a list of 100 popular novels, and people are invited to vote on their favorite over the summer. The goal is to start a discussion about what makes a book meaningful or important.

"I think novels are much more accessible to people," Pizzo said. She says they can build empathy toward other people’s situations, and across any distance.

"All of this is to continue to really talk about the importance of books and literacy and how these books have shaped us as a society," Pizzo said.

Literacy events are often aimed at children, but Pizzo hopes that this adult-focused event can still have an impact on kids, too.

"Oftentimes when a child sees and adult reading, they will become readers," she said, “This is a way for us to help parents.”

Starting this fall, students in Michigan schools who aren’t reading at proficient levels will be held back according to House Bill 4822, signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2016. As part of the law, parents are expected to take an active role in ensuring their child’s reading proficiency.

"Right now, Michigan is struggling," Pizzo said, referencing dismal standardized testing scores. In 2017, Michigan ranked 35th in fourth grade reading levels, and last among Midwest states, on National Assessment of Educational Progress) tests.

Registration can be found at wkar.org, search “Book Club Luncheon”. The luncheon will be catered by Amy’s Catering of Lansing. On-street, metered parking is available, and free-of-charge on Saturdays.

For more information, Robin Pizzo can be reached at robin@wkar.org.


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