GREENVILLE – Eager to see what adventures await, Greenville’s kindergarten through third-grade students lined the gym Tuesday to receive their first books for the school’s summer reading program.
The school district’s fifth annual Family Read Night and Kids Read Now Summer Reading Kickoff, held from 5-7 p.m., was complete with hot dogs grilled by former Greenville Police Chief Dennis Butts. Also on hand was guest author Paul Orshoski, who has penned 13 children’s books.
Third-grader Starr Whalen excitedly held her packet of books, which will begin her summer of reading. Her favorite books, she said, are “mysteries. Things you wouldn’t expect to pop up in a book.”
Whalen, 10, said her most favorite title so far is ‘A Little Bit of Spectacular.’ I just like reading,” she said, noting art and gym are also on her favorite list of school subjects.
Over at the kindergarten table, six-year-old Trevor Singer was registering for his first experience with the school’s summer reading program and said he enjoyed reading about “dinosaurs. I just like reading,” he said.
Kids Read Now, a summer reading program founded by Troy businessman Leib Lurie and his wife, Barbara, works with a number of school districts to provide books free of charge to young readers. Students pick up the first three books during the kickoff and report their progress throughout the summer. As books are read, the student completes a corresponding activity, then receives a new book through the mail.
According to Heather Crews, a K-2 literacy coach, all 660 K-3 students are participating in this year’s summer reading program.
“They’re so excited. We’re going to do everything we can to help our kids get their books and gain a love for reading,” Crews said, which will include One Call Now phone calls to encourage students to finish a book and its activity in order to receive a new book.
Laura Bemus, district assistant superintendent and curriculum coordinator was on hand to help students pick up their books on Tuesday.
“This summer reading program is one of the most important programs we do to help close the gap,” Bemus said of the summer reading gap most students experience.
Bemus said the district tracks the young readers’ summer reading progress.
“Every summer we see an increase,” in reading ability, Bemus said.
The Kids Read Now program is funded by a federal grant. There is no program cost to the school or families.
Local businesses help support Greenville’s summer reading program by offering incentives to the students. These include McDonald’s, Pizza Hit, Dairy King, El Camino and the Skate Place.
Participating families also were eligible to enter for door prizes, including tickets to the Cincinnati Zoo,Scene 75, the Columbus Crew, COSI, and the Cincinnati Reds.
Local sponsors of the kickoff included Bread of Life, Dairy Barn,Dairy King, Dayton Dragons, Dr. Doug Gordon, Eikenberry’s, El Camino, Jim’s Hot Dog Stand, Leis Realty, Maid-Rite, Pizza Hit, Readmore’s Hallmark, Rural King, Shawna Wise, Taco Bell, Walmart, and Wendy’s.