To The Editor:

This past March, The Missourian organized its 13th annual community reading event, Family Reading Night. Including volunteers, more than 800 children, parents, and grandparents attended the free event, despite school cancellations and winter weather.

Family Reading Night is a remarkable event. This year more than 165 individuals and organizations volunteered during the evening simply to share the importance of reading. Some volunteers return every year, others have evolved from young participants to student volunteers sharing the full circle message that reading together does make a difference.

From 2001 to 2013, Family Reading Night has consistently drawn large crowds because of the partnership with the Washington School District. Educators, support staff and parents have provided tremendous support to this community project and its mission to promote family reading.

After 13 years it would seem that the event has reached its pinnacle — yet a planning committee of enthusiastic educators and reading advocates infuses energy and excitement into every new year. Still euphoric from the first Friday in March, a week later they already are planning how to make the next Family Reading Night event better.

But Family Reading Night isn’t just an event, it’s a message. It’s a reminder that reading with and in front of your children every day is important.

Life is busy. But children grow up quickly and strong reading skills are essential to their success. Just as healthly eating and fitness are important daily habits, so is reading.

April 12 is National Drop Everything and Read Day. I encourage you to make that night, and every night, a Family Reading Night.