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Central Library offers reading 'adventures' for families

Date: 3/15/2011

March 14, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — Family Adventures in Reading (FAIR) isn't just about reading to children. The program offered at the Central Library at 220 State St., looks closely at books and how they open up conversations between children and adults.

The program, now in its sixth session, recently started its new session, but still has room for several more families, according to Jean Canosa Albano, the library's manager of public services.

Albano explained that storytellers trained by Mass Humanities not only present the books in the program to the participating families, but also then help lead discussions about them.

"The purpose is to allow a close examination of the texts," she said.

Springfield is the only community in the region presenting the program, Albano said.

She added that FAIR complements the library's involvement in early literacy program in the city.

"[FAIR] is another rich opportunity for families to engage in books in a meaningful way," Albano said.

FAIR will meet weekly on Saturdays though April 9 in the Central Library Community Room, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Snacks will be provided, and families who attend regularly will receive a canvas book bag and a free book.

Books in this program include "Bintou's Braids" by Sylviane Diouf and "Emma's Rug" by Allen Say, in addition to other titles.

Layla Morrison, a Springfield mother of two, said, "The FAIR program that my family attended at the Central Library branch of the Springfield City Library is a magical experience. The stories are multicultural and are brought to life through reading aloud and acting out characters. It was a fun literary learning experience that the children and parents who attended will not soon forget. My children were just acting out one of the songs the other night — it's not something they will forget anytime soon ... it's an event we all looked forward to and it was an opportunity for us to spend quality time together."

"I've been a part of FAIR three times and with each session my appreciation for the creation and format of the program has deepened," John Porcino, one of the storytellers, said. "There are many wonderful elements to FAIR, but most important is the way it offers a model for how families, in a too busy world, can stop for a moment, connect, consider, and grow."

Register now for this free program by calling or visiting the Central Library's Children's Room at 263-6828, ext. 201.

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