OC Children’s S.T.E.A.M. reading challenge takes off this week

Although the Orange County Children’s Book Festival won’t be returning for an in-person event this year, festival organizers are partnering with OCDE, Orange County Public Libraries, 4SPACE Co., and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory education department to launch the S.T.E.A.M. Race to Space Reading Challenge.

The first-of-its-kind reading challenge takes flight this Friday, Oct. 22 and runs through Nov. 12. The challenge is open to all Orange County students in grades TK-12 and local educators and families can sign up to participate at readsteam.org.

While nothing can replace an in-person event, Pat Burns, Orange County Children’s Book Festival co-founder and executive director, says the past 18 months caused festival organizers to think bigger and come up with different, yet exciting ways to inspire families and children to find joy in reading.

“The Orange County Children’s Book Festival understands the need to inspire students of all ages and we couldn’t think of a better way to get students and families excited about S.T.E.A.M. then to read together,” said Burns. “We believe introducing S.T.E.A.M. books early will cultivate a greater passion for science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics and provides more opportunities for students in their futures.”

Burns recently caught up with OCDE’s Literacy and Language Coordinator Audra Mesa to talk about the challenge and how children can participate.