Read Across Oklahoma, the state’s premiere literary event for preschool and early grade children, will return at 9 a.m. April 13 with a free book giveaway and virtual activities.

The first 1,500 children who visit the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden on that day will receive a free book. 

Following a Zoo visit, participants can visit the Oklahoma Department of Libraries website, libraries.ok.gov/read, to see a special video of author Tammi Sauer reading the event’s featured book, "Wordy Birdy," performances by popular children’s musical group Spaghetti Eddie, additional storytelling and more.

The video also provides a virtual look at the OKC Zoo and some of its animals and habitats.

Read Across Oklahoma is part of the statewide My First Library program coordinated by ODL, an early literacy initiative that helps develop literacy skills and promotes family reading. During a regular school year, the program distributes 1,900 books to early learning classrooms in the Oklahoma City metro area.  

"Wordy Birdy," by award-winning Edmond author Tammi Sauer, is an ideal feature book for the event, Gelders said.

“Since the character 'Wordy Birdy' is always talking, it’s filled with new vocabulary words. It also imparts a lesson about the importance of listening,” Gelders said. 

The virtual side of the event will provide opportunities for children throughout the state to participate, Gelders said.

Visit libraries.ok.gov/read to find the virtual activities. Families planning a visit to the zoo should make their reservations at okczoo.org/tickets

Additional Read Across Oklahoma sponsors include the Krueger Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Pizza Hut, Target, Oklahoma City Public Schools, Teacher Prep Academy, Red Wolves, Metro Technology Center, Feed the Children and Junior League of Oklahoma City. 

For more information, contact leslie.gelders@libraries.ok.gov or call 522-3242.

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