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Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront

Interactive literacy program for kids runs July 12 to Aug. 17 at Rivard Plaza in Detroit

DETROIT — The General Motors Foundation and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy will kick off the second annual Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront (R3) program at 11 a.m. on July 12 at Rivard Plaza with a reading by First Lady of Detroit Yvette Bing.

R3, presented by the GM Foundation and hosted by the Conservancy, is a free and entertaining program that promotes literacy across Southeast Michigan while giving families the opportunity to experience the beautiful, revitalized Detroit Riverfront. Last year, more than 1,700 students from throughout metro Detroit participated in the program and received a free book.

R3 features readings by local celebrities and business and community leaders, as well as live, interactive family entertainment, healthy treats, free rides on the Cullen Family Carousel and free books through a partnership with the Detroit Public Library’s “Library on Wheels.”

The presenting sponsor since the program’s inception, the GM Foundation donated $25,000 to support R3. In addition, the Foundation funded a new Riverfront Family Lending Library at Rivard Plaza. The library will be open Thursdays and Fridays each week and will provide children and families visiting the Riverfront with access to an inspiring collection of age-appropriate books that can be checked out and read during their visit.

Through the Foundation’s partnership with leading literacy organization First Book, those looking to make a contribution to help provide free books to children as part of R3 can make a donation by visiting GM employees have already contributed nearly 200 books to R3.

“The GM Foundation is committed to making Detroit and the Riverfront a place where children and adults come together to enjoy themselves and make memories,” said GM Foundation President Vivian Pickard. “As part of the Foundation’s Summer in the D learning series, we support programs like Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront that provide participants with the opportunity to discover the joys of reading in an environment that is fun and conducive to learning.”

“The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy is dedicated to providing a wide range of programming, from health and fitness activities to educational programs that address the importance of literacy, like Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront,” said Faye Alexander Nelson, president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “We look forward to welcoming even more children and families throughout southeastern Michigan to the riverfront this summer for this important program.”

Each R3 program begins with live entertainment provided by a variety of artists and groups that encourage audience participation and dancing. Guy Louis will delight all ages with a journey through time with folk music, rock, jazz, Motown, reggae and more. HarpBeat & Legertha features award-winning children’s musician Donna Novak on the harp and Legertha on the keyboard playing Motown and R&B songs as kids also help lend a hand to make the music. Award-winning singer and songwriter Kevin Devine will entertain audiences with his children-friendly musical hi-jinx and original songs. R3 will also offer a variety of fun, engaging, and interactive activities, including make-and-take crafts, at each session to help build literacy skills in young children.

R3 is open to all children and families. In addition, a number of Metro Detroit area non-profit organizations and groups, which focus on children ages 3-10, have been invited to attend various sessions throughout the summer. These groups include the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Matrix Human Services, Franklin Wright Settlements, Starfish Family Services, Children’s Corner of Detroit, Childtime Learning Center and Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan. Other organizations interested in registering their group for a program session should contact Bianca Williams at 313.566.8234 or

R3 runs each Thursday and Friday throughout the summer from July 12 through Aug. 17 with programs each day at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Rivard Plaza, 1340 E. Atwater, Detroit.

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