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10-08-14-reading-rocks.gifLearning to read is essential and begins long before a child enters school. In the United States an estimated 30 million people over the age of 16 read no better than the average elementary school child, which is why the Cumberland County School System places so much emphasis on literacy and will host its 11th Annual Reading Rocks! Walk-A-Thon on Saturday, Oct. 18 at Festival Park in downtown Fayetteville at 9 am rain or shine.

“This is our 11th year and our slogan this year is “Celebrating 11 years” and we are proud to say that we have had thousands of walkers every year join us in Festival Park for the Reading Rocks Walk-A-Thon,” said Jody Hawley, Reading Rocks coordinator and executive director of Information Technology and Media Services, Cumberland County Schools.

“Last year our schools raised more than $200,000 and the money is raised for books and learning tools for our students,” Hawley continued, adding that it brings awareness to literacy and the need for literacy in the Cumberland County School System.

The ceremony will feature community leaders such as Superintendent Dr. Frank Till, Mayor Nat Robertson, Fayetteville City Council members, Cumberland County Commissioners and school board members. This is significant because it shows that the leaders in the community understand the importance of reading. It gives them each a chance to connect with students and families and let them know that community leaders want students to be successful not just in school but in life, too. Reading is an important part of making that happen.

“We will present various awards that morning to the elementary, middle and high schools that have the highest donations and that will lead the walk,” said Hawley. “There will be students who will perform our “Literacy Rocks” song.”

The 1.3 mile walk winds through the scenic, historic downtown and ends on Ray Avenue near Festival Park. Community resource vendors will be at the finish line to offer information and services to students and parents.

“Our goal is to raise more than we did last year and to have more walkers,” said Hawley. “We are asking again for thousands in our schools and communities around Fayetteville to join us on Saturday, Oct. 18 in Festival Park.”

All donations are tax deductible and may be designated for a specific school. You may also purchase T-shirts with the Reading Rocks! logo for adults for $10 and for children for $5. The school that sells the most T-shirts will win an award. Gates open at 8 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m..

No pets are allowed. For more information, call Hawley at 678-2613.

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