Children, parents invited to national reading event at USCB

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Children and their parents line up for a day of reading fun at a previous Read Across America Day at USCB. COURTESY USCB

Read Across America Day, a celebration of the joys of reading, will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 1 on the Beaufort campus of USCB, 801 Carteret St.

Parents and their children, ages pre-K through third grade, are invited to join the fun. The event is free.

The event will be held on the lawn in front of the USCB Center for the Arts and will feature readings from children's books in a variety of languages. Local authors will be on hand to read their books.

Dr. Marlena Smalls, actor, speaker, singer, historian and more, will read to children. Dr. Smalls is known as "The Voice of Gullah."

Andrea Studenc, a children's book author and illustrator from Hilton Head Island, will read her book, "Hair Brain Jane." Studenc has supported the event by participating ever since the first Read Across America Day at USCB in 2012.

New authors supporting the event this year include Sheri Levy, a young adult author who tells the story of an autistic child whose dog is being trained to assist her; and Elizabeth Belenchia, whose book "My Walk to the Water" explores the world of sea turtles.

There will also be games and activities for children, a bouncy house, refreshments and free books to take home. The Cat in the Hat will make a special appearance, and someone wearing a tutu will read "Pinkalicious."

USCB's Read Across America Day activities were organized by the Education Club in conjunction with the United Way of the Lowcountry, Americorp, and the Beaufort and Hardeeville libraries.

For Spanish speakers, Rena Lewis-Kratky, M.Ed., instructor of Spanish at the university, will read books in Spanish as will students from the Gamma Beta Phi and Foreign Language honors societies.

USCB's Read Across America Day is expected to draw more than 200 children from many Lowcountry schools: the Port Royal Elementary School Pre-K class, the M.C. Riley second grade, the Beaufort Elementary School Pre-K class, the Royal Live Oaks Academy of the Arts & Sciences Charter School in Hardeeville, and more.

Many of the daycare centers and early childhood development centers in the Lowcountry are expected to attend and bring the children in their care. Parents will also bring their homeschooled children.

Refreshments will be provided. In the event of rain, the event will be moved to the Center for the Arts.

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