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Celebrating the fun of reading

Bernice Campbell, right, a member of the Zeta Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., helps Bradley Freeman, left, 5, pick out a book at the Reading is Fundamental program Monday at the Selma Convention Center.

Bernice Campbell, right, a member of the Zeta Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., helps Bradley Freeman, left, 5, pick out a book at the Reading is Fundamental program Monday at the Selma Convention Center. (By Sarah Robinson | Times-Journal)

Let the fun begin.

Children of all ages gathered at the Selma Convention Center Monday for the first day of the Reading is Fundamental program, which is designed to teach young people the importance of reading. The RIF program, which continues Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Selma Convention Center, is a collaborative effort of the Zeta Eta Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Women and Youth Services of Selma, Alabama, Inc., City of Selma, Dallas County Commission and the AmeriCorps.

“It’s a good feeling to know the people of Selma and Dallas County know reading is important,” RIF coordinator Nancy Sewell said in response to large crowd of participants who attended the event.

Various local churches, schools and daycare centers brought children to enjoy the RIF program, including Camp All About our Kids Childcare Center, School of Discovery Summer Enrichment, Lord’s Tabernacle Church and more.
Clowns and famous book characters, such as Curious George, read aloud and sing to the children.

Kids had a chance to collect their favorite paperbacks at no charge.

Bernice Campbell, a member of Zeta Eta Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, said as a former educator, she knows students are not exposed to reading enough during the summer months.

“We find that a large number of our children really don’t have anybody to sit down with them, listen to them read, or read a book to them,” Campbell said.

For the first time, Montgomery resident Camryn Rogers and Birmingham resident Taylor Sewell visited Selma to participate in the RIF program. Rogers and Taylor Sewell entertained and read to the children as clowns Slappy and Happy to showcase the fun of reading, which they both mentioned was the key to success.

“Reading is the key to the excellent vocabulary and good work ethic,” Nancy’s granddaughter Taylor Sewell said. “If you want to be anything, it involves reading.”

Maria Freeman and her son Bradley Freeman, 5, planned a trip to the Public Selma-Dallas County library when they noticed there was an RIF program going on at the Selma Convention Center.

“[Bradley] loves to read,” Maria Freeman said. “He also wanted to come over here and see the clowns.”