Read-alongs, local authors, and a used book sale are all coming up this weekend at the first Little Buckaroos Reading Roundup Literacy Fair.
The Lodi Public Library has teamed up with the Lodi News-Sentinel and the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership to promote literacy and reading among young children.
Peter Breech, sales manager for the News-Sentinel and a main organizer of the fair, got the idea after taking his daughter to the library for storytime on the weekends.
"I find that my girls absolutely love the time there. When storytime is over, we let our girls pick a few books for us to read to them each night," he said.
The fair expands that weekend storytime to an outdoor storytime for the entire community, sponsored by local businesses.
The event will feature local author Danna Smith sharing her book "Pirate Nap: A Book of Colors," and the Paws to Read dogs Eele and Fuzzy will be there to help little ones practice their reading. Reader's theater will perform twice during the day. Entertainment will be provided by the Lodi High School cheerleaders and drill team, as well as the Ukelele Strummers of the Central Valley.
The Serpentarium will have a few creepy crawlies on hand. Kids can also enjoy a face-painting booth and free pony rides.
Local schools, reading programs and children's health services will offer information on fitness and how important the first five years of a child's life are.
Breech hopes the event will encourage families to make reading a regular part of their time together. He organized the fair to bring awareness to poor literacy rates among adults and how to turn that problem around.
"Literacy is the fundamental building block in education. The system is not to blame; we as parents need to begin a new attitude in being an active participant in our children's lives," he said.