Kicking off summer with a good book

Published 12:23 pm Thursday, June 14, 2018

By Lorenzo Salinas


Crowds of kids gathered underneath the pavilion to play, mingle and have a fun time in the park. More importantly, kids gathered to celebrate their love books by registering for some summer reading.

The Effie & Wilton Hebert Public Library hosted the 2018 Summer Reading Kick-Off on Wednesday morning at Port Neches Riverfront Park under the pavilion. There were a variety of games and activities for children to choose from including fishing, golf, beanbag tosses and colorful tattooing.

In addition, kids and adults could have sated their summertime appetites with snow cones, popcorn and refreshments.

But the draw of the event was, of course, the reading.

“This has been going on for a long time. This kicks off our Summer Reading Club,” Carolyn Bedwell, children’s librarian, said.

The Summer Reading Club and program have been going on for more than 20 years. In it, children are encouraged to read age-appropriate books and to turn in reading logs to earn coupons from local merchants.

“It is very important for children to continue reading throughout the summer,” Bedwell said. “Because it helps to keep their reading skills developed during the (school) break.”

Last year’s kickoff drew in approximately 105 kids. Bedwell said the event has brought in even more readers in the past. She said she expected a similar turnout this year.

Baylee Curbo practices her fishing skills at the 2018 Summer Reading Kick-Off at Port Neches Riverfront Park. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

As for the reading club, numbers tend to go even larger. Within the first week of registration at the beginning of June, Bedwell said the library already had 245 participants register for the summer program.

Near the fishing pool, Baylee Curbo fished for fake fish in a small, inflatable pool. While she liked what she caught, she said she likes reading even more.

“She’s been doing this reading program since she was in the first grade,” her mother, Jenny Curbo, said.

“Ever since I’ve been doing this, my AR (Accelerated Reader) points have been going up in school,” Baylee said with a big smile.

Across the way, Shiva Geliri watched his daughter, Sai, operate one of the game stations.

Sai Geliri (right) awards one of the younger attendees for his efforts at her game stand at the 2018 Summer Reading Kick-Off. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

“My daughter is going to be a freshman at PNG,” he said. “She’s volunteering in this program because it’s great for kids and for exposing them to more reading. The kids are learning something, and it’s a very good program.”

Shiva said the reading club was an excellent way for children to connect with each other through reading.

Registration for the 2018 Summer Reading Club runs from June 4 to July 6.

The top readers in each age division will be awarded trophies at an awards program July 25. Age divisions range from babies and preschoolers to those in the fifth grade.

The last day to turn in reading logs is 4:30 p.m. July 20.

Reading logs consist of 20 books for pre-K through second-grade students and three hours worth of reading in time logs for third-through-fifth graders.