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STAR Fest returns to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library April 27

On April 27, the DC Public Library will host its annual STAR Fest, a free family celebration promoting early literacy development. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, children and caregivers can experience the five practices at the heart of the library's Sing, Talk and Read (STAR) initiative.

The festival features interactive stations that make building pre-reading skills feel like playtime. Kids can sing and move along to live musical performances by Kofi Dennis, Uncle Devin, and Marsha and the Positrons. Imaginative play areas like a pretend garden, grocery store and pizza parlor will inspire storytelling and conversation. The Children's Room will also host family story times, a soft play area and a sensory Story Walk experience.

The singing nursery rhymes, describing daily activities, and reading aloud from colorful books offered at STAR Fest support a robust, citywide initiative that prepares children for reading success from birth. Decades of research shows engaging in these habits fundamentally shapes a child's pre-reading brain development.  

The Books from Birth program is a core component of this (STAR) early literacy initiative. It focuses on encouraging caregivers to practice the activities of singing, reading and talking with their children. Specifically, the Books from Birth program mails a free book every month to children enrolled in the program from birth until they turn 5 years old. By the time they start kindergarten, participating children have built a personal library of 60 books.

As of January, there were 32,646 active children enrolled receiving books. The program has served 87,803 children in total, with 43,288 "graduating" after accumulating their 60-book libraries. Nearly 3 million books have been distributed since the program's launch in 2016.

By promoting these pre-reading habits through programs like Books from Birth and interactive experiences like STAR Fest, the Library aims to inspiring a love of reading from the very start. By supporting children in DC reaching reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade, students are more likely to have future academic success and lifelong literacy. 

Audiences: Kids