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Mead district hosts book events to help children practice reading and writing skills during summer

It’s always a struggle to keep children from losing progress in reading during the summer, so the Mead School District has come up with a couple of options for parents in the district.

Evergreen Elementary students, including incoming kindergarteners, are invited to a reading camp every Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the school. Farwell Elementary staff run Reading at the Clubhouse every Thursday at noon at the Forest Creek apartments, 13110 N. Addison St.

Shiloh Hills Elementary has Shiloh Hills on Wheels, which brings books and popsicles to students. They will be at Deer Run apartments, 1225 E. Westview Court, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and Rosewood apartments, 401 E. Magnesium Road, from 2:20 to 4 p.m. on July 18, Aug. 1 and Aug. 15. The mobile van will also be at Cedar Creek apartments, 8424 N. Nevada St., from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and Hill n’Dale apartments, 8719 N. Hill n’Dale Street, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on July 11, July 25 and Aug. 8.

Shiloh Hills also will have open library events every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Camp Shiloh, 13120 N. Pittsburg St.

Evergreen Principal Mike Danford said this is the second year his school has hosted summer reading events. He believes its important to keep students reading and engaged, he said.

“It’s as simple as that,” he said. “We’re not trying to overthink it.”

Local authors have been invited to speak to the children nearly every week. “They come and they share their stories, share their love of reading and writing,” he said. “It’s pretty low key and nice.”

Last week the guest was Kelly Milner Halls, a prolific nonfiction author who writes about everything from dogs to dinosaurs. “She writes nonfiction that is intriguing and interesting,” Danford said.

June Lamberd, Evergreen’s Learning Assistant Program reading interventionist, helps run the summer program.

“The whole idea was to get kids excited about reading, to not lose that excitement they have with coming in and getting their hands on books,” she said. “It’s all for the kids. That’s what we do.”

The most students who have ever come to a session is 25. “Last year the idea came up at the last minute,” she said. “This year we started much earlier.”

Organizers were able to line up authors far enough in advance that they sent a schedule home with students before school ended. Seventeen students came to the first session and 13 came last week.

Milner Halls, who has written 50 children’s nonfiction books, told the students that she likes weird stuff and likes to write about it. She read them a true/false book on animal facts, during which the kids learned that both worms and some types of dinosaurs eat rocks to help digest their food and that chihuahuas are related to wolves.

She showed them wax dinosaurs she has had since she was a child as well as a fossilized piece of dinosaur droppings. That last item seemed to convince the kids that she did indeed like weird things.

Parent Jodi Murphy saw information about the reading program on Evergreen’s Facebook page and decided to bring her 5-year-old son, Mason, who will be attending kindergarten in the fall.

“I figured it would be some extra help,” she said. “I feel like he’s a little under-prepared for kindergarten.”

Mason has mild cerebral palsy and wears leg braces, though they didn’t seem to slow him down as he ran around the library greeting everyone who came inside. Murphy said he used to use a walker. “It’s amazing the progress he’s made,” she said.

Murphy said she also wanted to come to the reading sessions so her son could get to know the building before he starts school.

“He was very excited to see what it was like,” she said.



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