The Children’s Literacy Foundation reports that 68 percent of America’s fourth graders do not read at a proficient level and that one out of six children who do not read at age level by the end of third grade will not graduate from high school. Since its inception six years ago, Read2Me, a nonprofit geared toward promoting early literacy in Macon County, has worked to increase access to books, educate parents on raising a reader, and raise awareness on the importance of early literacy.

Each Fall, Read2me partners with the Macon County Public Library to host parent training events to provide parents with information and activity ideas on how to read to their children. According to the Children’s Literacy Foundation, of all parent-child activities, reading aloud provides the richest exposure to language, so promotion of reading aloud, especially for children from more disadvantaged backgrounds, holds great promise for strengthening school readiness and laying a strong foundation for future educational success.

A Read2Me parent training event is scheduled for this Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at the library.

“This year’s theme is Old McDonald’s Family Farm Day,” said Diane Cotton, president of Read2Me. “We will have songs, activities, story time, and a petting zoo.”

Macon County Public Library Children’s Department will host three, farm-themed activity stations to give parents an idea on ways to incorporate reading with different arts and crafts with their children. Maggie Kennedy with the library will also lead story time with fun farm books.

Read2Me will also debut their newest story walk, which features the book “Mouse House Tales.” The story walk will be set up outside of the library and will give parents the opportunity to get outside and read the story out loud with their children along a walking trail.

The nurturing and one-on-one attention from parents reading aloud encourages children to form a positive association with books and reading later in life.

There will be a petting zoo for children located behind the library for children to visit with some of their favorite farm animals.

Safe Kids Macon County will be also hosting a free car seat checking station in the library parking lot from 10 a.m. to noon for National Child Passenger Safety Day.