Sevier Count summer reading program gets underway

Jun. 06, 2013 @ 11:04 PM

Sevier County Public Library System kicked off its summer reading program yesterday. The program is open to all ages. This year's theme for kids through sixth grade is Dig Into Reading; for kids in grades seven through 12, it's Beneath the Surface; and for adults, it's Groundbreaking Reads.

Sevierville resident Jacqui Lane brought her two daughters, 8-year old Kailee Boaudry and 1-year-old Sophia Boaudry, to the kickoff event at the King Family Library.

"I really didn't know about the program until my mom told me about it, but we're excited about reading. The program is a fun thing to do, and it's free," Lane said. "When I found out about it, I invited my friend, too."

For the second year, the library is including Wee Readers, ages 0-24 months, in the program. These youngest of library patrons earn prizes by completing a bingo card. Each block on the card has instructions such as, "Count your child's fingers and toes at bath time" and "Share a board book with your child."

For some, reading is a family activity, with siblings becoming involved as well. "Kailee loves to read, and she reads to Sophia all the time," Lane said.

Cee McKnight, librarian assistant at the Kodak branch, said the Wee Readers program is probably her favorite. "The moms are so excited that the wee readers can participate, too, and those babies were always ready to get their rubber ducks last year," she said. "Of course we want to turn them into lifelong readers, too."

Janice Hickman from Knoxville attended the kick-off with her three granddaughters, who especially enjoyed the dinosaur dig. "We come regularly to story time for the little girls, but we wanted to come to the summer program so all of them could participate," she said. "I want to encourage them to read and listen to books."

Her 2-year old granddaughter Tyne played animatedly during the dino dig. With wide eyes, she exclaimed, "I found a pretty diamond...a BIG diamond." Tyne's 5-year-old cousin Nancy Tant said her favorite part of the kickoff was "finding stuff." Nancy found an amethyst during the dig, and she said she also enjoyed cracking open a dinosaur egg.

After the dino dig, children snacked on dinosaur toes (otherwise known as Bugles), and they painted flower pots and made spades to "dig into reading." Plants were awarded as door prizes.

This year's theme is consistent with the library's new community garden, which children will have the opportunity to enjoy.

Although teenagers Shianne Fitzgerald, Karissa Fitzgerald and Katie Phillips have varied reading interests, all three look forward to the Beneath the Surface program. Shianne, 14, checked out a stack of books. She doesn't really have a favorite genre. "I just read all over the place," she said. Karissa enjoys reading comic books, while Katie primarily reads historical fiction.

Mom Kimberly Fitzgerald said she has always shared her love of reading with her family. When her children were as young as 3, she began reading chapter books, often completing one book a night. "When I would close the book, they'd say, 'No, no, no! Keep reading," she said with a laugh.

King Family Library Manager Circe Anderson said, "We try to have a lot of things going on to encourage reading. There are a lot of cool presenters and performances scheduled, too."

Virginia Borrelli, system outreach coordinator for the county library system, will be taking the program to the Boys and Girls Club this summer. "If kids can't come to the library, we'll bring the library to them," she said.

For every three hours spent reading per week, adults enrolled in the program will receive an entry for a prize drawing, while teens will receive an entry form for each six hours spent reading.

Each library in the Sevier County system will be holding a variety of programs throughout the summer. For more information, contact King Family Library at 453-3532 or contact any branch library. n