MERRILLVILLE | Many of those who took Time Out for Reading in October also took the time to snap photos of their participation in the Northwest Indiana Literacy Coalition event, resulting in 70 entries in this year's Time Out For Reading Photo Contest.
All 21 of the schools and libraries that entered received recognition last week at an awards reception hosted by the University of Phoenix. Ten received plaques that featured their winning photo, two earned honorable mention recognition and nine others went home with certificates.
The judges showed their own creativity in determining the award categories - McKinley Elementary School in East Chicago won the "Be a Sport and Read" award for a photo showing students reading while also working Hula Hoops, while Avicenna Academy in Crown Point took top honors for "Best Readers in Action" by re-enacting a pillow fight scene from the Books to Bridge the Region children's book selection, "A Day with Wilbur Robinson" by William Joyce.
Krueger Middle School students in Michigan City snuggled up to a skeleton - and made sure he was wearing a red nose, too - for their Reading With a Reading Buddy winner, while Franklin Elementary School students from Griffith displayed their physical fitness while reading by spelling out the word read with bodies on the playground to win Most Flexible Readers honors.
"It keeps growing and growing," said Dian Reyome, NWILC president and financial literacy coordinator for Centier Bank, about the Time Out For Reading program and the photo contest. She announced that in 2010, Time Out For Reading will take place at 10 a.m. on Oct. 1.
"We estimated that at least 120,000 people participated in Time Out For Reading this year," said Dennis Gray, NWILC vice president and resource facilitator for Hammond Adult Education. "We distributed 170,000 bookmarks, 21,000 red noses and 450 cases (decorated by students and filled with books and TOFR materials)."
Gray marvelled that "all the photos were so unique, no two were alike," before announcing the winners.
The awards reception was also an occasion for Linda Friedrich of the NWILC to announce a new partnership with TransCanada Pipeline that will reap $5,000 a year for the next three years for the NWILC.
"People take for granted that 'everyone can read,' and don't realize that people are struggling every day with reading skills," Friedrich said.
Karen Venditti, NWILC board member and assistant professor of education at St.
Joseph's College, read a statement from Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett congratulating the literacy coalition for its Time Out For Reading program, and announced that she will make a presentation about TOFR and its growing success at the World Reading Congress in New Zealand next July.
Time Out For Reading Recognition Awards
Most Unusual Reading Spot - Johnston Elementary School in Highland
Most Unusual Piece of Literature - Jasper County Public Library in Rensselaer
Largest Number of Participants - Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School in Crown Point
Most Creative Reading Attire - West Central Middle School in Francesville
Reading with a Reading Buddy - Krueger Middle School in Michigan City
Famous Reading Celebrity (Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin) - Warren Elementary School in Highland
Reading at Recess - Hosford Park Elementary School in Gary
Be a Sport and Read - McKinley Elementary School in East Chicago
Best Readers in Action - Avicenna Academy in Crown Point
Most Flexible Readers - Franklin Elementary School in Griffith
HONORABLE MENTION ENTRIES
Putting Noses in Bookmarks - Col. John Wheeler Middle School in Crown Point
Putting Your Best Foot Forward - Elston Middle School in Michigan City
Robert A. Taft Middle School in Crown Point
Lowell Public Library in Lowell
Marquette School in Gary
St. John Bosco School in Hammond
Wallace Elementary School in Hammond
Longfellow Elementary School in Gary
Our Lady of Grace Preschool in Highland
Southridge Elementary School in Highland