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Children’s Fair Inspires Love Of Literacy

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Hundreds of children and parents came out to celebrate the 38th annual Children’s Fair today at SUNY Broome this Saturday. While children of all ages were invited to play and learn, they were also greeted with free books sponsored by BAE Systems.

The initiative is part of SUNY Broome’s ‘Literacy Legacy Project’, which works to bring more books to children and babies. Lisa Strahley, one of the organizers of the Literacy Legacy Project and Chairwoman for SUNY Broome’s Early Childhood Education Department, said that literacy is critical for young children and she wants to make reading more accessible for families.

“This really is a gift for our community that will last a lifetime. If our children are young readers they have the language and literacy experiences it really impacts their ability to be successful in life. Our mission is to help ensure that every family knows how important it is to talk and read to their children starting at birth.” - Lisa Strahley, Literacy Legacy Project

County Executive Jason Garnar recognized April as the ‘Month of the Young Child’ and discussed ‘Baby’s First Book’, a recent initiative to provide every child born in Broome County with a new book on the day of their birth.

“We felt that this program had such promise and it’s such a wonderful program that we had to to put it in our budget. “It just shows you the commitment that this county has to our children. Right from the first day of birth we’re going to be there for them all the way through.” - County Executive Jason Garnar

BAE Systems provided every four year old child with the book ‘The Bus For Us’, where author Suzanne Bloom read to children and signed copies.

“There’s nothing better for an author and an illustrator than to be able to share the material directly with the youngest readers. I hope is that the child that sees my kindergarten drawing or my first grade drawing will say, ‘I can do that.’ And that they go on and do that and that they find a voice through drawing and through writing.” - Suzanne Bloom, author of ‘The Bus For Us’

Fire trucks, ambulances, and medical personnel were these to give children a glimpse into their vehicles and teach them about the profession. In SUNY Broome’s gymnasium, students and volunteers played games with children, made superhero capes, and taught them gymnastics.

The gym was organized as a mini community, where children could go to the car wash, supermarket, and even have a visit from Spiderman and other caped crusaders. SUNY Broome’s Dr. Francis Battisti said that it’s important for parents to bond with their children through free play and imagination.

“This is interactive. What’s neat about this is that parents can interact with the child. You can sit down with your child for ‘tea’, or go to the bakery or the garage. They have the whole community simulated here which stimulates discussion and knowledge.” - Dr. Francis Battisti Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of SUNY Broome

To donate or learn more about the Literacy Legacy Project, please visit their website.