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Spark a love of learning at local festival

Posted: November 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.

If you have children or grandchildren in school in Santa Clarita, I hope you will join me for the Literacy & Arts Festival on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Now in its seventh year, the festival will be held at the Old Town Newhall Library from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The festival is a partnership between the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation, the city of Santa Clarita, the

Santa Clarita education community, and local artists and arts and education groups.

This one-of-a-kind event combines music, storytelling, theater, and play — taking lessons and stories beyond the pages of books and making them exciting experiences for students of all ages.

Literacy may well be the key to education for every child. A strong ability to read and comprehend material opens doors and helps children succeed at every grade and level of learning.

Incorporating the arts into education further enhances a student’s ability to grasp concepts, relate to stories, and find meaning in academics.

In fact, according to the SCV Education Foundation, studies show that children who are strong readers and have music in their lives score higher on tests. And they not only do better academically, they also excel socially because they are better able to communicate, interpret, and appreciate the world around them.

This year’s event will focus on ways that literacy and the arts connect and enrich children’s lives through new attractions and experiences, including stage entertainment, interactive and hands-on activities, and roaming fictional characters.

Special entertainment and adventures are planned, including music by popular singer and songwriter Natalia Palis, who will delight the audience with a lively bilingual approach to music.

Favorite local authors will be reading their works in the Story Tower throughout the day, while local educators entertain guests with an original production of “The Drel Little Wolfe and the Big Bad Schwein,” based upon a 1993 children’s book called The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, which inverts the cast and makes a few changes to the traditional three little pigs plot.

Exhibits and interactive demonstrations will highlight ways in which the arts are now being integrated into public schools throughout the Santa Clarita Valley, including the opportunity to build architectural pieces with life-size LinkerLogs.

Other activities include lessons in digital animation, animals in action, a Remo Drum Circle, an instrumental petting zoo and much more!

Several local schools will participate in the event, including the College of the Canyons TEACH Club, which will host a puppet-making station for children to design their favorite storybook characters.

Valencia High School, Arroyo Seco Junior High, Sequoia Charter School and the Castaic and Newhall school districts are sponsoring mask-making, math projects, art block painting and more.

Young aspiring journalists can even practice their writing skills by reporting on the festival’s newsworthy activities with direction from the Saugus High School Journalism club.

In preparation for the festival, the SCV Education Foundation and the city sponsored a bookmark art and writing contest in local schools. Students in four grade categories were invited to draw and write about the theme “For the Love of Animals.”

Winners in each grade division will be introduced at the Festival and will have their bookmarks distributed at all three Santa Clarita Public Library branches.

Stanford’s renowned Professor of Art and Education Elliot W. Eisner once said, “art is literacy of the heart,” and I believe an appreciation of the arts and a love of learning go hand-in-hand and are gifts that last a lifetime.

I hope you and your family will join us for the Literacy & Arts Festival 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 7. Together we can spark the imaginations of our youth and ignite a passion for reading, science, music and the fine and performing arts that will support lifelong learning.

For more information on Santa Clarita’s Literacy & Arts Festival or the SCV Education Foundation, please visit or call (661) 414-4465.

Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at



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