|Casper Journal Articles
From the Natrona County Public Library
First Graders Discover the Joy of Reading
By Kate Mutch, Public Services Librarian
May 15, 2008
The first graders are coming! The first graders are coming! The Governor declared Tuesday May 20th “Wyoming Literacy Day” and urges all citizens to join in celebrating first graders’ ability to READ during the 3rd annual “Wyoming Reads” celebration.
John Jorgensen established the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation in 1996 and founded Casper Cares, Casper Reads to honor his late wife's commitment to literacy and children. “[Sue] believed children needed to be able to read to fulfill their potential in life," says John. This commitment to children and literacy is the heart of the now state-wide “Wyoming Reads” event.
The ownership of a book is so important and meaningful that children treasure the book with their own name inscribed in it for years. At the library, we hear stories from middle and high school students who reminisce about the day they got their book, how they still own it and would never dream of letting it go.
Just this week, a teacher related the story of a student who received her Wyoming Reads book last year. It was not an easy book to read, but she loved it anyway. Recently, this teacher observed the child reading her book aloud before breakfast at school. She would NOT begin eating until she’d finished with her book. Her reading skills were much improved because of her desire and determination to read the book she called her very own.
This year over 7,000 first-graders across Wyoming will receive their choice of Wyoming Reads books: Jennifer Ward and Steve Gray’s “There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea,” Marion Bauer’s “A Mama for Owen,” Jan Brett’s “The Three Snow Bears,” David Shannon’s “Good Boy, Fergus!” Mo Willems’ “Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct” or John Segal’s “The Lonely Moose.”
“There Was A Coyote Who Swallowed A Flea” was this year’s most popular selection. Both the author and illustrator recently traveled to Casper to join in the celebration. Ward said they were so honored their book had been chosen that it was a “no brainer” to come and spend time talking about books, writing and literacy with Casper’s children. The kids delighted in helping Jennifer read her book aloud, and were thrilled to participate when Gray, an accomplished professional illustrator, taught them how to draw a funky cow and a scruffy coyote.
In addition to receiving their own book choice May 20th, Natrona County children will enjoy a sack lunch, “Celebrity Readers” at the library and at the NIC, a special fairytale about “the Good Queen Sue” narrated by John Jorgensen and performed by Stage III Theatre. Over 185 students will receive their first library card as well, enhancing their opportunities to discover the joy of reading.
Wyoming Reads is supported by: NCSD #1, Natrona County Public Library, Nicolaysen Art Museum, McMurry Foundation, PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning, Tonkin Foundation, Wyoming Community Foundation, United Methodist Thrift Store, Casper Rotary Club, Casper Kiwanis Club, Wyoming State Library and many other generous contributors.
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