GC: Teen readers read way to $50 or new Kindle Fire
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Students spend nearly three-quarters of the year in the classroom, absorbing knowledge in various subjects ranging from math to art to science. So, when vacation comes playfully peeking around the corner, the last thing floating between their ears is a desire to pick up another book. At least for some.
For winter vacation, the Victoria Public Library implemented its winter reading program appropriately named "Snow Better Time To Read."
"This is our way of encouraging teens to continue reading through the holidays," said Catherine Muehalbrad, the public services manager for the library.
The program runs from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31 and is open to students in grades six through 12, Muehalbrad explained. Each student is given a log used to list the names of the books and a few lines to write a short review of each book they read over the two-month span. Once the logs were completed and returned to the library, the reader received a $5 gift card to Sonic, Jack in the Box or CherryBerry and entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift card or a Kindle Fire.
"They can read anything they want," she said. "It can be a graphic novel, "Twilight," "Harry Potter" - whatever they are interested in. Each book has to be more than 100 pages and they can do audio books or e-books."
She added that a lot of the readers have been interested in the "Twilight" books, "The Hunger Games" trilogy and other vampire romances.
Cash or Kindle
More than 70 students participated in the winter reading program, which equates to more than 350 books read over the two months.
"The students aren't limited to just the five books either," Muehalbrad said. "We encourage them to read more."
At the end of the program, all the students' names went into a drawing to win the $50 gift card or Kindle Fire. The two students picked were James Heath, 13, of Our Lady of Victory School, and Madison Anderson, 12, of Cade Middle School.
"I read my five books all in the month of December," James said proudly.
The eighth-grade student included "The Hunger Games" trilogy among his books. He said he enjoys reading series-style books.
His mom, Catherine Heath, who teaches English at Victoria College, said that James came home from school and told her he wanted to participate in the winter teen reading program.
"He said he would love to win the Kindle Fire so that when we travel, he wouldn't have to check out books," she said.
Carefully removing the plastic from his new e-reader, James said the first thing he wants to download is the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. John Flanagan, Christoper Paolini and Rick Riordan, the author of the "Percy Jackson" series, were other favorite authors he listed.
"My aunt bought the "Percy Jackson" series for me when I was in fourth grade and that's when I really started to like reading," James said.
Between riding horses and raising animals for the March stock show, Madison was still able to find time for reading to complete her log for the library.
"Reading is my second choice if I can't ride," she said. "I go up to my room instead and read my books."
For the 12-year-old country girl, Westerns and books about horses are among her favorite genres.
During the summertime, her dad, Al Anderson, said she'll be at the library a lot with her grandma.
"Grandma says that reading books makes you smarter and books help you read better," Madison said.
Her dad added that her mom and grandma are the ones sparked her interest in reading. As a self-employed rancher, he was the one got her interested in the stock show.
This year, Madison had three pigs to care for and compete with in the breeding and market competitions. Even though she had a full load on her hands, squeezing in some time to read was no surprise to her dad.
"She is always reading at home," Anderson said. "She likes to read."
Summer's around the corner
The Victoria Public Library will offer its summer reading program for students up to eighth grade beginning June 1 through Aug. 1.
"The winter teen program is really laid back," Muehalbrad said. "They get to read a few books and win a prize at the end."
By contrast, the summer reading program lasts four weeks longer than the teen winter program.
For more information on the Victoria Public Library's reading program, call 361-485-3302 or visit victoriapubliclibrary.org.