St. Mary's School in Massillon held its first Family Literacy Night July 30.

St. Mary's School in Massillon held its first Family Literacy Night July 30. The event was designed to promote the benefits of reading. The community responded by filling the school's gym with families learning why its important to read.

Lisa Channell is the librarian at the school and organized the event. She said she wanted the event to further enhance the knowledge of parents, kids and others in the community as to “what reading can do for them.”

“Reading benefits people educationally and it's great entertainment and a great escape,” Channell said.

There were different organizations with tables setup with displays including the Massillon Public Library, Akron Mobile Zoo and PAWS for Reading. There were prizes and giveaways such as books, coloring books and some beach tools along with a book for reading on the beach.

 “Reading is a big deal here, parishioners, the PTA groups and parents donate to the school so that we can buy books to fill our wonderful library,” said Jennifer Fischer, principal at St. Mary's. “Students have to be able to read and comprehend what they've read to excel in math, social studies, science and English. It's a great way to use the imagination. Our seventh and eighth graders have formed their own book clubs to encourage reading.”

The students at St. Mary's School are involved in an accelerated reading program. Students select books at their individual reading level. After completing the book, they take a computer test to see how well they comprehend the story.

Both Fischer and Channell said it's never too early to start reading. Fischer said she started reading to her children while pregnant. Channell said she started reading to her granddaughter when the baby was only two weeks old.