First-graders eat lunch on the grass in front of Cam-Plex Energy Hall.
(Gillette, Wyo.) First-graders all over the state are receiving personalized hard cover books today as part of Wyoming Reads.
Wyoming Reads is a program of the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation. It began in Casper two decades ago to encourage reading at an early age. The program has been active statewide and in Campbell County for the last 13 years. Wyoming Reads has also expanded outside the Wyoming borders to communities in California, Oregon, and Minnesota.
Janet Tharp is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Campbell County Public Library and coordinates Wyoming Reads in Campbell County.
She said in addition to library staff, a lot of volunteers make the event a success, including the FFA Club handing out sack lunches. The Campbell County High School Drama Club also performed storytelling skits for the first graders. While the students were waiting for the performance to begin the noise level was at a dull roar, but as soon as the skit began, the kids went silent and were enthralled by the performance.
Tharp said this year nearly 700 Campbell County first-graders will receive books today. Looking back at the life of the program statewide, more than 110,000 hardback books have been handed out.
Each year a steering committee of teachers, librarians, school administrators, and parents pick six books at varying reading levels. Then the students get to pick which of the six books they want to receive at the Wyoming Read events that coincides with Wyoming Literacy Day, which happens to be today.
Click here to see this year’s books.