A local child care resource and referral service wants to send the message to young people that reading is a blast!

“Raising Readers,” a children’s literary festival organized by the group Connections for Children, is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 2nd, at the Clock Tower Quad, Santa Monica College, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.

This is the fifth year of the free children’s reading festival.

The festival is meant to promote early education and school readiness. The event is co-sponsored by Santa Monica College in collaboration with the North Bay Association for the Education of Young Children.

Live entertainment, that will emphasize the joys of reading and storytelling, will include Dan Crow and the Thunderwear Band, Parker Bent, Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre and Rhythm Child.

Crow performs a set of zany children’s music. Bent, a former pre-school teacher, gears his act towards the pre-school set.

Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre interacts with children and families in their rollicking storytelling sessions. The Flights of Fantasy performers and storytellers put a new spin on folk tales, fables and poetry, making classic stories spring to life in a display of masks, props and costumes.

Rhythm Child is devoted to the advancement of “positive music” for the next generation. They merge styles of contemporary grooves, primal drums and classic children’s melodies into a collection of new lyrical themes.

Scholastic Books children’s storybook character Clifford the Big Red Dog will also be in attendance at the festival entertaining children.

There will also be literacy-based creative activities for kids and information on childhood education programs.

Connections for Children is a nonprofit childcare resource and referral agency that focuses on educational childhood development, advocacy for meaningful learning experiences for children and providing community resources for families, teachers and caregivers.

Each year Connections for Children helps about 6,000 families select the childcare placements that best fit their individual needs, according to the group. Connections for Children offers free referrals, financial assistance and parent education programs for families throughout the west side of Los Angeles County.

Information, (310) 452-3325 ext. 237.