Benson Reading Program Ends In Fun

Benson summer reading program participant Jenna Moon takes part in a fossil discovery activity Friday. She was one of many who participated in the program this summer. The program ended with a wrap-up party at Benson Parks and Recreation.

Large number of participants this year 

A large crowd of children — who contributed to impressive statistics in Benson’s summer reading program this year — dug into a day of discovery Friday in a wrap-up party at Benson Parks and Recreation. The final challenge at hand involved a search for ancient artifacts.

The participating children listened intently as they were told how to find fossils and other items of interest buried in boxes of sand and gravel. Then, they dug in, uncovering shark teeth, sand dollars, shells, coral and other items in their searches.

Riley was one of those enjoying the session with her mother, Nicole Withrow, intently watching.

“This is good,” Withrow said. “It gives her something to do and we get out of the house.”

The event marked the end of a summer of learning through a “Universe of Stories” that yielded somewhat staggering statistics. On Friday, the group had read 3,603 books since the program started seven weeks ago. And the children had recorded 833 hours of reading time, which equates to more than 34 days.

A total of 1,375 people, including children and adults, participated in the summer reading program this year.

Tracie Brewer, of the library staff, supervised Friday’s party.

“I am proud of every one of you for what you have done,” Brewer said.

She credits the number of titles in the library as one reason for the high turnout.

“When we gets more books we see the number of participants go up,” Brewer said. “This is an enormous turnout compared to what we had last year.”

Children also stayed active with summer reading events that included storytimes, magicians, animal experts, singers and other entertainment acts.

“We wanted interactive programs so the children wouldn’t just be sitting there,” Brewer said.

Friday’s event ended with a sweet surprise for the participants.

“We didn’t tell them, but they are all getting snow cones,” Brewer said.

-The Daily Record