MERRILLVILLE | Pictures may tell a thousand words, but words are the reason for the pictures when the Northwest Indiana Literacy Coalition celebrates its Time Out for Reading program.
Last month the NWILC hosted its annual recognition awards reception to honor schools, libraries and businesses who support the Time Out for Reading event held every October. All ages in all places are encouraged to take time out for 15 minutes of leisure reading at the same time on the same day, then send the NWILC a photo of their reading activity.
Ninety photos from 23 different entrants were submitted, said Dennis Gray, a NWILC board member and Hammond Adult Education staffer who emceed the reception at the University of Phoenix.
"We have gone from 3,000 Time Out for Reading participants in our first year to 70,000 to 80,000, and we know there are even more who don't share their plans with us, but just do it," Gray said.
This year's honorees included a school that read "The Wizard of Oz" while dressed in costume (Eisenhower Elementary School in Crown Point), a church group that gathered to read the Bible (First Presbyterian Church of Crown Point), a school where students dressed up as What I Want To Be When I Grow Up (Wanatah Elementary School), and a college that dressed up the life-size pirate statue in its library (Calumet College of St. Joseph).
Celebrating its 10th year of supporting literacy activities in a seven-county area that includes Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, Jasper, Pulaski and Starke counties, the NWILC also honored its Top Ten supporters, including Books to Bridge the Region, Centier Bank, Gary Literacy Coalition, Hammond Adult Education, Hammond Reads, Northwest Indiana Education Service Center, The Times Media Co., TransCanada, U.S. District Court of Northern District of Indiana and Whosur Associates.
Ken Woodruff Mini Grants for $200 were presented to the following for programming to encourage literacy: 21st Century Charter School in Gary, Michigan City High School, Fegley Middle School in Portage, READ LaPorte County Inc. and Indian Trail Elementary School in LaPorte, and Lafayette Elementary School in Hammond.