Becky Lawson has a “booked” schedule every Tuesday this summer. Working with children at the Collinsville Library – a branch of the Blue Ridge Regional Library system – Lawson hosts a reading program for two to six year olds every Tuesday morning at 10:30.
The children enjoy playing games, making crafts, and eating a hot lunch provided by HCPS’s summer feeding program. However, story time is one of the most important aspects of the day.
On Tuesday, Lawson read “Sally the Sore Loser” by Frank J. Sileo. After losing a game during recess, Sally lost her temper; in turn, she lost her friends. She went home and told her mother about the experience, including her teacher’s advice that bad losers and bad winners never win anything.
Sally’s mother agreed with her daughter’s teacher.
Then, Sally’s mother taught her the phrase, “I’ve won if I’ve had fun.”
The next day, Sally’s team struggled while playing kickball. Instead of degrading her teammates, Sally uplifted their efforts with words of encouragement. Even though her team lost, Sally retained a good attitude.
The story taught the Collinsville Library children to be fair to everyone, to put forth their best effort, and most importantly to have fun.
Referring to the “summer slide,” Lawson said, “If you keep your child reading through the summer, it is proven to help them when they are starting the next school year.”
Young readers receive incentives. For every ten books a child reads, he or she gets a prize. Every time a child gets a reward, his or her name is entered into a grand prize drawing for a Kindle at the end of the summer. In addition to a possible Kindle, children who read thirty books over the summer will receive a book of their own to take home with them.
Lawson, who has coordinated the reading program at the Collinsville Library for the past three years, said that the participation varies based on the season.
“In the fall, we normally have ten to twelve participants. Today, we had twenty-nine, including kids and adults,” Lawson said. “Our group grew – tripled, almost.”
Amelia Burnette came to the reading program for the first time, while Emma Epperly is a regular.
Mary Epperly, Amelia Epperly’s mother, said, “We love it. We’ve been coming since Halloween. Miss Becky is the best.”
Given Epperly’s decision to homeschool her daughter, she likes the socialization aspect the program provides.
Carole-Anne Penn, mother of Maci Penn, said that her daughter looks forward to the event and “knows when it’s Tuesday.”
U’Lyssa Edwards, who attended with her grandparents, said, “I like the library. It’s fun, fun, fun!”