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Literacy Festival returns to the square
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The Learning Center and Main Street Covington will co-sponsor the fifth annual Literacy Festival from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. September 13 on the square.

 The event is designed to highlight literacy services for children and adults in the area. More than 20 local agencies and organizations that focus on literacy will provide information and activities for attendees.

 "Parents are really able to see the creativity of what places like the library and local child care agencies offer in their curricula," said Mollie Melvin, director of The Learning Center.

 Melvin and Learning Center volunteers will provide information about their programs, such as Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, to parents.

 The Imagination Library is a national program that provides age-appropriate books to children and their families each month from birth to age 5. The books are free after the parent or grandparent attends a short workshop explaining the importance of reading to their children.

 "It is The Learning Center's Mission that young children go to school prepared to learn to read," Melvin said.

 The Learning Center is one of two organizations in the state of Georgia officially affiliated with the Imagination Library. Currently, more than 1,200 families in The Learning Center's service area receive books monthly.

 Other organizations will be sponsoring activities such as a "book walk" which operates just like a cake walk, but sends children home with books rather than German chocolate.

 The Covington Service Guild will provide material for children and their parents to create "lap-sit books" together.

"The children select a picture of an item and the adult then names or describes the corresponding object," Melvin said, "and they complete the whole book on the square and can then take it home and read it together."

Other features of the festival include musical entertainment by Seth Decker and the Missing Piece, storytelling, arts and crafts and a sidewalk chalk art contest for middle and high school students.

"We started the sidewalk chalk contest last year to bring in middle and high school students to show that illustration is very much a part of literacy," Melvin said.

Middle and high school students can register for free for the contest as either individuals or groups. A 12-pack of sidewalk chalk will be provided on a first-come-first-serve basis, or participants may bring their own chalk. Drawing commences at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. for judging.

Registration forms can be obtained through school art teachers or by contacting The Learning Center at (770) 787-2778 or If space is available, contestants and agencies can register on the day of the event.

 The festival is free and open to the public.