Monongalia County Schools hosts annual Reading Rally at the Met

MORGANTOWN — Words got the last word Wednesday evening at the Metropolitan Theatre.

The historic Met on High Street was the site of the 13th annual Monongalia County Schools Reading Rally, and parents and kids came out to do just that.

They rallied for the printed word.

They filled the seats and whooped and cheered as they followed along with the words read aloud in the kids’ books they love at home.

They sang the words to the songs from Disney’s “The Lion King,” which was performed by members of the Morgantown Theatre Co. as part of the evening.

And they laughed at the funny, droll ones strung together by Mike McClung, who served as emcee.

McClung is the manager of Aull House, which is a research component of the Morgantown Public Library.

He is so enamored with words that he once read Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” cover-to-cover while at sea during his time in the U.S. Navy — and this was during the summertime.

The love of words, and their power to sweep you up in the narrative, by way of the brain of an author with a story, was the whole point.

Youngsters got the community of the read-aloud and the sing-along choruses of Disney.

Their parents got the reinforcement that what they’re doing matters.

“That’s the theme here,” said Julie Parsons, a coordinator with Mon Schools’ Parent Educator Resource Center.

“We just want to remind parents that what they do really matters, when they take the time to read to their child and to do all those other things,” she said.
“Kids remember that, when they grow up and have kids of their own.”
Mon Schools and the Parent Educator Resource Center annually sponsor the rally, along with Mon County Read Aloud, the Morgantown Public Library, Mon County Head Start and Early Head Start, the Metropolitan Theatre and Burlington Family Services.

A host of WVU athletes and Trevor Kiess, the university’s Mountaineer mascot, were also on the Met stage for the evening.

Book giveaways abounded and two Samsung tablets were awarded during a grand prize drawing.

For Thomas Collins, his payoff is whenever his 3-year-old son, Thomas Collins II, crawls up in his lap (without prompting) with a book to read.

The father and son were in the Met audience, and Thomas II, hoisted on his dad’s shoulders, was still bouncing with excitement after the proceedings were done.

At least 20 percent of West Virginians struggle with low-reading fluency, according to studies from the U.S. Department of Education.

In the Collins household, one dad is determined to turn that trend.

“We read aloud all the time,” he said.
“He’ll pick up a picture book and tell me what’s on the page.”
Thomas II is a big fan of the “Little Blue Truck” series by Alice Schertle, a series of adventures and misadventures of a plucky farm truck that can’t seem to keep its wheels on the road.

“He goes for those first,” Collins said.

“Read!” Collins, the second, seconded.

Tweet @DominionPostWV. Email