This semester, students in READ 6310 were asked to contribute a post to this blog.
By Marco Garza
In the Rio Grande Valley opportunities for struggling readers to make a connection towards reading was primarily left in the hands of the public libraries or the schools. This is what prompted the need for FESTIBA. This festival evolved from the success of HESTEC. HESTEC is a festival held every year by UTPA in an endeavor to promote science and technology careers to the students of the RGV. After its huge success they came up with the idea of creating an effort to promote literacy, the arts and cultural diversity. It first started out as the Festival of International Books and Arts. One of its main focuses was to promote the importance of reading, in an effort to ensure children developed and honed a lifelong love for reading. It also aspired to bring an awareness of the programs available through the Arts and Humanities Department and its goal was to enhance the development of reading in all aspects of a student’s life and education. One of its main goals was to emphasize that reading is the key to success and that through reading children can acquire knowledge and discover new worlds through the pages of a book.
FESTIBA also attempts to provide an array of activities that all incorporate various reading, artistic and cultural activities. The activities include free books being given away to children, puppet shows, poetry reading, musicians, conferences that are geared towards exposing children to different cultural activities and many other activities. In an effort to entice children and their families to the festival, FESTIBA works cooperatively with schools and they present different forms of recognition to the students from Reading Renaissance Millionaire Awards, Artistic Recognition of artists and many others to lure audiences to this important event. RIF or Reading is Fundamental jointly coordinates their efforts with this event by donating thousands of books to be given away. Visiting authors attend and share their stories with the children.
FESTIBA is truly an incredible festival for children to acquire a love of reading, gain an appreciation for art and learn about new cultures. With the help of the University of Texas Pan American Arts and Humanities Department, The South Texas Literacy Coalition and the Reading is Fundamental Program, FESTIBA will continue to prosper every year and will gain major strides in gaining lifelong readers. With FESTIBA recently past, it is an exciting to think of the all new activities that were incorporated this year. FESTIBA took place this year at UTPA, from March 20-23, 2014. The theme of this year’s FESTIBA celebration was “Creating Innovations in Education”.