Writing Sample

The WHRO Raising Readers Literacy Van will make a special appearance just in time for the holiday season. Come see the van at the 4th Annual Rockefeller in Ocean View event on Sunday, November 29. Children and families of all ages can enjoy this community tree lighting event that features free food, activities, and music performances. The WHRO Raising Readers Literacy Van will hand out free kids’ books and hot chocolate throughout the evening. In addition, WHRO’s own Raymond Jones will emcee this year’s event. Jones hosts several classical radio shows including Evening Classics, Sunday Classics, and This Just In. This is the second year that the WHRO reading van has attended the Ocean View tree lighting.

The WHRO Raising Readers Literacy Van provides books to children from needy communities that would otherwise not have reading materials. The van visits Title I elementary schools throughout Hampton Roads. The van also partners with recreational centers, after-school programs, Child Development Services on military bases, food pantries, and public libraries in the region.

During school visits, every classroom receives a new set of books that include popular children’s literature. Each child also gets a WHRO “Really Really Fun Pages” coloring book to take home. WHRO’s Early Childhood Coordinator Martha Razor leads the children in a Reading Pledge at the end of each visit. During visits to public libraries, children can see their favorite PBS KIDS characters and listen to story time. In 2014, the Raising Readers Van made over 100 visits and provided 10,000 books to needy children.

Kindergarteners from Park View Elementary School take the Reading Pledge

Kids also can play educational games inside the van’s Mobile Lab. Each digital game focuses on math or literacy concepts that tie into fun activities. All games are available for purchase or download on the PBS KIDS website. Recent funding enabled WHRO to purchase twenty iPads and twelve Chrome Books for the Mobile Lab.

This project began in 2008 when WHRO purchased the van through funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The Raising Readers Literacy Van now receives funding from organizations such as Wells Fargo and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to purchase books. WHRO Leadership Circle members can also donate gently used books.

Thanks to a $40,000 grant award from the Beazley Foundation, WHRO will purchase a second van. This van will include STEM-related activities such as a pop-up maker space for hands-on, creative activities. The new van will include a second Mobile Lab as well.

This holiday season the Raising Readers Literacy Van will take part in the Ocean View community tree lighting. The 4th annual Rockefeller in Ocean View event features performances from the Hurrah Players and the Granby High School Choir. Visit Norfolk will bring a Mobile Visitor Center that has contests and prizes. This year’s newest attraction is the Teeny Tiny Farm Petting Zoo, featuring baby animals brought in from the Peninsula. Santa Claus will also make an appearance and kids can see him all evening.

The lighting of this year’s sixteen-foot tree is the main event of Rockefeller at Ocean View. Once the tree is set up inside the gazebo, community volunteers decorate it with hand-made ornaments. This year, students from Ocean View and Willoughby Elementary schools created the ornaments. Tree lighting takes places at dusk and the tree will stay lit until January 6.

Rockefeller in Ocean View will take place at the gazebo in Ocean View Park from 4-6 pm. Families are welcome to donate unwrapped toys and non-perishable foods at the tree lighting. Ocean View Park is located at 100 West Ocean View Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23503.

Norfolk’s Neighborhood Network (NNN) preview of the Ocean View Tree Lighting