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Longview Public Library begins Summer Reading Club with children's block party

By Richard Yeakley
June 6, 2012 at 10 p.m.

More than 200 children - parents and grandparents in tow - attended the kickoff party Wednesday for the Longview Public Library's Summer Reading Club.

The event served as a block party with sidewalk chalk, sticker tattoos, face painting, fun foam and snacks. It was also the major registration push for a daily reading initiative.

Monica Wood, youth service supervisor for the Longview Public Library and coordinator of the Summer Reading Club, said the program was meant to be fun but serve a serious educational need.

"They have done studies that, in the three short summer months, children lose some of their reading skill," Wood said. The Summer Reading Club rewards children for reading 15 minutes each day during the summer.

The strategy appeared to be lure them in with fun, then give them a book. One of the biggest draws of the day was the foam pool.

Standing the height of a large child and filled to the brink with bubbles, children in shirts and bathing suits splashed, gathered bubbles and played.

Brothers George and Jet Lewis, 10 and 9 years old respectively, had attended the kick off event before. They knew to head straight to the foam, provided by Linda's Backyard Bunch of Tyler.

"I get to play, and I get to see a lot of my friends," George said.

"I get to get wet so I can hug my grandmother," Jet added.

The two brothers also understood the value of reading. After drying off, they planned on going into the library to look at books with their grandmother.

"We accidently came last year, but man, it was a priority this year," said Susey Toombs, the boys' grandmother. "It's fantastic that the library offers this to citizens."

D'anna Yastrebov, mother of 6-year-old Sophia, brought her daughter to the kickoff, although they visit the library each week.

"I think the summer reading club is a wonderful thing," Yastrebov said. "I did it when I was a kid."

The Summer Reading Club is sponsored by the Texas State Library and is staffed with five library employees and 24 teenage volunteers. It will offer weekly activities for children.



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