Dragon trading cards, other incentives for Port Neches library reading

Published 12:16 am Saturday, September 30, 2023

PORT NECHES — Move over Pokémon, Reading Dragons are in town.

Just sign up for the program and receive a starter pack, then read.

It’s as simple as that.

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Brandi Riley, cataloger at Effie and Wilton Hebert Public Library in Port Neches, learned of the fun reading tracker that uses trading cards designed to look like dragons as a reward from an Ohio library.

Port Neches is the first library in Texas to jump on the bandwagon and offer the reading incentive.

In the first couple of weeks, more than 6o kids signed up to take part in the Reading Dragons & Friends program. It launched Sept. 1.

The plan is to continue the program through April, then stop for the summer reading program but resume when the next school year begins.

“There was a mom in here and her son was already sitting down reading and she was already helping,” said Carolyn Bedwell, children’s program director.

The mom was pleased because her son normally doesn’t like to read, but he wanted to get the trading cards, she said.

After signing up for the program, children mark one square in the tracker for every day they read. For each row of four they complete, they get a set of four matching cards. New dragon cards are introduced each month and Riley, who painted a mural in the children’s section of the library, is adding some special touches to some of the upcoming cards, including one for Mid County Madness.

The cards can also be used in a “Rock Paper Scissors, War” game.

But that’s not all. The Port Neches library is also working with the pre-readers with 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.

Bedwell said the idea came from Port Neches City Manager Andre Wimer and launched May 1. There hasn’t been any big announcements for either program; mostly word of mouth.

The purpose for the 1,000 Books program is for parents to read with their child — repeat books count. Children receive awards for reaching milestones in the program.

Studies have shown reading with your child provides a great opportunity for bonding and creates life-long memories for the parent and child, according to information from the library.

“I have had so many parents tell me that now their kids will bring the books to them and go sit on their lap because they know it’s time and they just love it,” Bedwell said. “So it’s become a routine and a joy for both parent and child.”

For more information about the library or either reading program, call 409-722-4554.