Literacy is such an important skill, but not every child loves to read or even has access to books. #MacombReads aims to change that.
This fifth annual event was created through a partnership with Macomb County’s Department of Planning and Economic Development, County Executive Mark Hackel, all 21 of the county’s school districts and select local entities, including the Anton Art Center, United Shore Professional Baseball League at Jimmy Johns Field, All the World’s A Stage, the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, the Detroit Zoo, and Detroit Public Television, with the sole purpose of inspiring kids to read.
“We have children in the county who don’t have home libraries or many books in the home and this event provides an opportunity not only for students to engage with illustrators and authors, but it also gives them an opportunity to get free books to add to or begin building their home libraries,” says Dr. Alesia Flye, the assistant superintendent for instruction and chief academic officer for the Macomb Intermediate School District. “We know the more opportunity that students get to read, it impacts them. It can be life changing.”
The #MacombReads event, which happens on Nov. 4, 2023, is aimed at Pre-K through 6th grade. This in-person event boasts tons of fun for families.
Starting at 10 a.m. and going until 2 p.m., this year’s event, which is themed “Reading Carnival,” features free children’s books, a giant map of Michigan with activities that students can engage in, art activities with the Anton Art Center, hands-on STEM activities from the International Academy of Macomb (IAM) high school robotics teams and STEM demos with representatives from Lawrence Technological University.
In addition, families will score some delicious Michigan cider and doughnuts — and learn how to make cider, too from Yates Cider Mill. They’ll also get the chance to see authors Johnathan Rand and Carrie Pearson. Rand is the author of the Michigan Chillers series, while Pearson is the author of Real Princesses Change the World, among others. Rand has been a hit with families for the past coupe years, Flye notes, so he’s back again to interact with the kids. “This is Carrie Pearson’s first time with us this year and we’re excited about that,” Flye says.
There will be many costumed characters there. “We will have Clifford the Big Red Dog, Anna and Kristoph from Frozen, Buzz Lightyear, A Ninja Turtle, Pikachu and even a magician,” Flye says. “There will also be some Macomb County high school mascots, such as the Romeo Bulldogs and the Eisenhower Eagle.
Face painting, a selfie station and literacy Bingo are also part of the festivities. Most of the fun takes place indoors, but you’ll find games — like giant Jenga, Plinko, giant connect 4, cornhold toss, ladder ball and a basketball hoop — along with a DJ Zak Atak playing music outside.
#MacombReads is a free event open to all kids including those outside of Macomb County. Registration is required for the event. You can register at misd.net/MacombReads.
“When we talk about literacy, we know that it sets the early foundation,” Flye says. “The earlier we can get students engaged with reading, it just benefits them and sets them up for more successful lifelong learning.”
This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated for 2023.