2022 Read Across America Celebration Recap

On May 25, we hosted the annual Read Across America Celebration at the Music Box Supper Club. It was a great night for literacy as more than 160 guests enjoyed this year’s celebration of reading. We kicked off the evening with live music, wonderful appetizers, and a presentation featuring snapshots of our work and testimonials from our partners and Imagination Library parents. To see photos from the event, scroll down.

The keynote speaker, Dr. John Hutton, MD, MS, a pediatrician, and clinical researcher in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics and Director of the Reading Literacy Discovery Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, discussed the importance of limited screen time and reading for brain development in the early years. The evening ended by celebrating the inaugural Kurt Karakul Literacy Award winner, Seeds of Literacy.

Bob Paponetti, the President and CEO of The Literacy Cooperative welcomed the enthusiastic attendees and thanked this year’s Gold Sponsor, PNC Bank.

Mayor Justin Bibb delivered a compelling speech and spoke warmly about Kurt Karakul, saying “I was amazed at the detail, commitment, and passion, that Kurt and his team did to make sure that the children of Slavic Village had resources that they needed to succeed… that kind of bold vision is what we need in Cleveland and across the country to improve public education. The one thing that you can do for me, as your mayor, is to be more like Kurt Karakul”.

Following Mayor Bibb, TLC Board Chair Emily Campbell interviewed Coretta Daniel, a Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library parent. Coretta explained her immense pleasure with the free book gifting service because it has enhanced her child’s love for reading and helped facilitate family bonding time. When asked by Emily if she would recommend the program to other families, she exclaimed “I would recommend this (Dolly Parton Imagination Library) program 1000 times”.

Erin Deimling, VP, Director Client, and Community Relations, Cleveland of PNC Bank introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. John Hutton. He began his very compelling presentation on the importance of reading for a child’s brain development. The words of Dr. Hutton captivated the audience so much so that he was met with many hands wanting to hear more about his work.

The event then focused on the man of the evening, Kurt Karakul! Bob introduced a tribute video to Kurt detailing his dedicated work and included his fellow colleagues who collaborated with him throughout the years on various literacy-related projects. Kurt thanked everyone and played a short video of his grandson “reading” to show the impact of reading books to children. More specifically, exposing very young children to books builds a strong foundation for learning to read.

Bob Paponetti and Kurt Karakul presented Bonnie Entler, President and CEO of Seeds of Literacy with the check for $20,000 as a part of the Kurt Karakul Literacy Award. This annual award was established with a generous gift by the Third Federal Foundation to recognize an organization doing great work to advance literacy in Cuyahoga County.

We want to express our thanks and appreciation to our event speakers Mayor Justin Bibb, Dr. John Hutton, Kurt Karakul, Erin Deimling, Emily Campbell, and Coretta Daniel. A special thanks to everyone who attended the event and donated to The Literacy Cooperative.

Special thanks to the 2022 sponsors:

To learn more about future events, click here.