April 7, 2020-- The district's signature literacy program, for which it became a grantee for a third consecutive year in 2019-2020, has been rescheduled for fall 2020.

NEA Big Read: Toms River was originally scheduled to run May 4 through June 5, 2020, and will now will be moved to Oct. 12 through Nov. 10, 2020. The 2019-2020 program is based on Ron Rash's award-winning book Burning Bright.

The author, who had planned to visit Toms River for a keynote engagement June 4, has rescheduled for Nov. 10. The event will still be hosted at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College.

The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, allowed grantees who had not yet hosted their 2019-2020 programs to postpone them due to the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent restrictions on public gatherings.

The district's NEA Big Read team worked with its program partners to determine the new dates. Ocean County Library will design and host programs based on the novel during this time frame. A timeline of events will be posted to the NEA Big Read: Toms River website during summer.

Although the month-long literacy campaign has been moved to fall, the district would like to remind its students and the community that it's never too early to get a head start, and it highly recommends Burning Bright, a collection of stories that Booklist says are as "deceptively easy to read as they are hard to forget." 

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