MERRILLVILLE | From the rooftop to the back of a pick-up truck, students and staff at schools throughout Northwest Indiana found unusual places to read - and sometimes unusual reading buddies - for this year's Time Out For Reading day last month.
Those who preserved their reading experiences in photos were honored by the Northwest Indiana Literacy Coalition last week at its TOFR Awards program, hosted by the University of Phoenix.
"Can you believe how much this event has grown, and what wonderful fun we have while we read?" pondered Dian Reyome, president of the NWILC and financial literacy coordinator at Centier Bank.
Cyndi Horn, NWILC board member, detailed the participation of schools, businesses and individuals from seven counties in this year's literacy promotion, including the distribution of 20,000 "Put Your Nose in a Good Book" red noses and 150,000 bookmarks, participation by at least 125 schools, and 90 photo contest entries by 30 organizations.
Karen Venditti, NWILC board member and assistant professor of education at St. Joseph College, told of her participation in the International Reading Association's World Congress, where she shared the Time Out For Reading idea and drew partnerships from Alaska and a publishing company in Australia that shipped 6,000 free home reading journals to Venditti for distribution to NWI students.
In addition to plaques to 14 winning entries, the NWILC presented awards to two honorable mention selections and 14 recognition honorees.
Some schools took photos of their students with a "Reading Celebrity," while others tried to win for "Largest Number of Participants" or "Most Creative Reading Attire." Some of the best entries came in the "Most Unusual Reading Spot" category.