Future bookworms are now in training. These young minds were eager to find the next book to sink their teeth in at Storybook Street.
The Early Learning Coalition partnered with local arts organizations to host Storybook Street in-person Feb. 11 at Suncoast Technical College.
Children balanced spinning discs with the Circus Arts Conservatory, gazed at a real-life ballerina thanks to the Sarasota Ballet and wiggled to a violin playing, "Baby Shark" with Sarasota Orchestra before receiving books that related to that specific art.
“We have such a vibrant arts-rich community. Why don’t we tap into that,” said Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County Director of Community Outreach and Engagement Ana McCleandon. “Just like reading, if you can hook them into the arts — into reading — when they’re little, then they are more likely to want to crack open a book.”
Booths from several arts organizations scattered around the entrance to Suncoast Technical College making it feel like a scavenger hunt for kids in search for their next book.
“It’s very much within our mission to do literacy outreach,” said McClendon. “At the end of the day, you can preach, ‘Read to your child’ and ‘Read aloud,’ but if they don’t have books at home, then you can kiss that goodbye.”
Two hundred and ninety families each walked away with 16 preschool-appropriate books.
“Reading is so important. It helps them for years to come,” said Angela Miller, who attended Storybook Street with her son Roman Miller. “You can never have too many books.”