Reading carnival offers family educational fun

Posted: Friday, January 30, 2004

Families looking for an afternoon of educational fun can find it Saturday at Soldotna Middle School, where Phi Delta Kappa and the Kenai Peninsula Reading Council will organize their second annual Peninsula Reading Carnival.

The event will provide four hours of games, door prizes, performances, storytelling and sales, all focused around the theme of literacy.

Virginia Morgan, a carnival board member and a member of both organizations, said the idea for the carnival came about last year, when the groups were looking for ways to raise money and promote literacy.

Last year's event was so successful, the groups decided to do it again.

"Last year, when we started out, we worked hard at it, and we expected it to be fun, we expected it to be a success, but we didn't expect 1,000 people to show up," she said. "When that happened, we decided to make it an annual event."

This year, carnival organizers already have lined up 15 more booths than they had last year, and they doubled the venue space for the event.

However, Morgan said, they have tried to maintain the integrity of the event. Groups sponsoring booths all must be nonprofits dedicated to literacy. Booth sponsors pay $10 for space at the carnival, which then goes to PDK for scholarships and the reading council for other literacy events.

Booth sponsors can charge for activities, but that money also must go to education. For example, many booths will be staffed by classes trying to raise money for end-of-the-year field trips.

Charges for activities generally will be minimal, Morgan said. Activities such as a Wheel of Fortune game, raffles and other education games will cost 25 to 50 cents to play.

There also will be a book fair, Fun Jump Dinosaur, cake walk, free bingo-for-books activity, crafts and several food booths, Morgan said.

However, there also will be plenty of free activities for children and their families.

In addition, a number of people have signed up to read aloud to children in the quiet reading corner, and school classes and area musicians will perform throughout the afternoon on the main stage.

The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Soldotna Middle School and is open to all ages. There is no admission fee.

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