Reading festival encourages students to turn the page

The festival was an effort to help every Philadelphia student read on grade level by age 8.

Abraham Lincoln High School recently hosted a family reading festival that featured appearances by Mayor Jim Kenney and William Hite, superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.

“The School District of Philadelphia’s Anchor Goal 2 aims for every student to read on grade level by age 8, and this is one way to show the importance of reading and involve all stakeholders in increasing reading achievement,” Hite said. “Students start out learning to read, and then transition into reading to learn. And there’s no better way to read than as a family.”

Others in attendance included state Reps. Jared Solomon, Kevin Boyle, Martina White and Ed Neilson, a Lincoln graduate who was chosen to deliver this year’s commencement speech.

Jenny Bogoni, executive director of Read by 4th, gave Kenney a “Reading Hero” T-shirt.

Guests were treated to soft pretzels, cupcakes, chips, hoagies, cake, water and a performance by the Lincoln band.

Children went home with free books, and got to pose for pictures with Clifford the Big Red Dog. Byron Garrett, author of ABCs of Life and chairman of the National Family Engagement Alliance, delivered an inspirational speech.

Garrett, a North Carolina native who has worked on projects for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, delivered 26 affirmations — helpful hints from A to Z. He also repeated the mantra, “If the mind can conceive it and if the heart can believe it, then the hands can achieve it.” ••