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December 10, 2015

Vroom, Books and More at the Gingerbread Festival

A favorite Buddy the Elf quote is: “I thought maybe we could make gingerbread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice-skating, and maybe even hold hands.”

We can do most of these things at the Community Youth Development Gingerbread Festival at Westfield Sarasota Square from December 11 through December 13. (Ice-skating may not be part of the fun.) When the weather outside is so delightful—and warm—many of us need something to put us in the holiday spirit. The Gingerbread Festival will do just that. More than 150 gingerbread houses created by youth groups, community organizations and local businesses will be displayed.

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) will share an amazing gingerbread house, thanks to baker, artist and SCGLR guru Beth Duda. Celebrating the joy of reading, the house is an inviting place filled with special treats that show the importance of early literacy for a successful start in life.

While parents and children are marveling at the gingerbread creations, they can stop by the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading booth where children may receive a free book—in English or Spanish—when their parents download the Vroom app with help from SCGLR volunteers. Vroom was designed to share the science of early brain development in new ways so that all children have the chance to become thriving adults. One of the tools Vroom provides is an app that supports early literacy by turning shared moments among parents and their children into brain-building activities. Based on groundbreaking research, Vroom is fun, easy to implement, and, when used as recommended, has an amazing impact on parent/child bonding, early language acquisition, and reading readiness.

Everyone who attends will have the opportunity to learn more about the campaign, its pillars, and its importance to the community today and long into the future. As the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading builds a community movement with the goal of children being able to read proficiently by the end of third grade, the Gingerbread Festival enables us to reach more children and parents, and the community organizations and individuals who can help “move” the movement. And, we can show off Beth’s gorgeous creation, a gingerbread house that will inspire everyone to go home and curl up with a good book.

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