The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 20, 2013

Book knowledge: Learning Lamp’s fifth annual festival promotes reading

WINDBER — Open up a book and start reading.

As part of The Learning Lamp’s fifth annual Children’s Book Festival, author/illustrator Suzanne Bloom paid a visit to classrooms at Windber Area Elementary School Wednesday to read to pupils and talk to them about storytelling and how she comes up with her book ideas.

She read her latest book, “The Bus for Us,” which was selected for the 2013 Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child Reading Initiative. The  book features two playful characters as they wait for the school bus.

Bloom also read, “A Splendid Friend Indeed,” about the friendship between a goose and a bear. Bloom encouraged the pupils to read along with her.

“I really enjoy going into schools and talking to the kids,” she said. “You get so many surprising answers from them and things you weren’t expecting.”

She also did a drawing demonstration and showed the pupils a few of her own childhood drawings.

“You can use your imagination,” Bloom said. “With art you don’t need anything special, just a pencil and paper and enjoy yourself.”

Bloom’s visit is part of the Windber district’s ongoing efforts to strengthen reading and literacy skills.

“We want to inspire children to read and write more and love doing it,” said Doug Ledney, the district’s federal programs coordinator. “She (Bloom) is able to offer a different perspective on reading, on what hard work goes into creating a book from beginning to end.”

Bloom will read to pupils at the school again today before headlining the book festival Friday through Sunday at the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center and Art Works in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

It’s fundamental

What: The Learning Lamp’s fifth annual Children’s Book Festival.

Where: Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center and Arts Works in the Cambria City section of Johns­town.

When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday,

10 a.m. to  4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Cost: Free.

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