Photo Caption: Ready, Set Go! Front row left to right: Mary Hakkinen, Cecelia Hastings, Ayla King, Madelyn Jean, Olivia Cody, Lillian Kazinskas, Gregory Watson, Stellina Moore. Back row: Michael Watson, Lawrence Watson, Michael Jean
The children's summer reading program at the Wheeler Memorial Library ended with it's first annual Ready for Kindergarten Ceremony. This joint venture with Valuing Our Children celebrated the attendance of area children at fun educational events throughout the summer. Each child collected as many "punches" as possible on the Golden Tickets they received from the library or at the June Countdown to Kindergarten play. Then on August 19 they came together at the library for a story-walk, and an ice cream party complete with bubbles and face painting. Mary Hackinen of The Bohemian Kitchen generously donated her time and talent to transform these friendly five-year-olds into any animal of their choosing. They also received a free book to keep from VOC. And books on starting school were available to borrow from the library. All of these children used their library cards many times throughout the summer as they participated in the Wheeler Library Summer Reading Program.
This summer a record-breaking 1,352 hours of reading were logged by 90 participants in Fizz, Boom, Read! They read more than double the amount required to fulfill the Friends' of the Orange Libraries pledge of $300.00 to the Orange Food Pantry. An impressive 18 children read more than 20 hours each, 6 read 50 or more hours each. These numbers amaze Candy Cross, children's librarian, who has been running the summer club for 11 years in Orange. Otha Day's booming Drum to the Beat was one of this summer's favorite programs. It attracted people of all ages to the library's side lawn where Otha proved himself an extraordinary teacher as the group mastered the rhythms he directed. Cross believes all members of Fizz, Boom, Read! deserve a booming round of applause.