Ola Ivery is on a Mission – to Raise Young Readers through Pure Joy

For Ola Ivery, the excitement around hosting the annual “Carnival” for children that she founded hasn’t waned in 12 years. It’s the wonder and exhilaration on the children’s faces that fuels her joy, Ivery says, particularly as this carnival aims to light up children’s imaginations and love for reading.

The Wayne County Community College District’s 12thAnnual Chancellor’s Reading Carnival for Children will be held Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the WCCCD Curtis L. Ivery Downtown Campus, located at 1001 West Fort Street in Detroit. The Annual Reading Carnival is the biggest event every year of the Bookworm Club, the group that WCCCD’s First Lady, Ola Ivery, and her husband, Curtis L. Ivery, Chancellor of the College District founded some 16 years ago.

Nearly 1,000 attendees flock to the Reading Carnival every year, making it one of the most successful early learner events in metro Detroit.

“We know from research and experience that developing early literacy skills profoundly influences language development, and other modes of learning,” said Ola Ivery. “We also know that early literacy skills are one of the most powerful tools for personal and economic growth and progress.

“It has been a lifelong passion for me and my husband to empower future generations – to spark their curiosity and to champion their intellectual growth so that they might create their best lives through education,” she said.

The Annual Reading Carnival features storytelling and interactive programs that allow children to engage with stories and books in multiple ways. Face painting, games, and a range of fairytale activities surround children in a storybook environment, allowing them to be immersed in a world of imagination. Children and families also receive book bags filled with books and other school supplies to help them continue the experience at home.

Families are invited back for several “BookWorm Club” meetings throughout the year, where children are led in storytelling, songs and appearances from the BookWorm to help keep their excitement for reading active.

Importantly, the program is open to the public at no cost and invites all children and families across the 500 square miles, and 36 cities and townships the District serves across Wayne County.

”My child is five years old and this is one of the best programs she has ever participated in,” said one parent who attended a past Reading Carnival. “She seems to have learned so much, had a great time, and loved the company of the other excited children I hope more parents bring their kids to attend one of the best free programs for children.”

For Ola Ivery, that is the point.

“Early experiences in learning are fuel for children’s minds that are busy growing and making connections to help them take their next steps in life,” she said. “The more learning activities that we can provide our children from a warm, engaging, fun space, the more opportunity we have to grow lifelong learners. We see that as our life’s mission.”

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