When I was young, I remember being handed a book in school that was as heavy as a brick and just as thick. I became discouraged when I tried to read required assignments because I wasn't a fast or skilled reader like my classmates seemed to be.
Many of the books offered in school were beyond my ability and I began to see reading as an undesirable chore. Children develop at different levels and a young person must have opportunities to read just for fun without the restrictions of time and materials or the feeling that they are being compared to others.
This summer, the crew at the Payson Public library has put together a wonderful summer reading program for children age 4 through elementary school. The reading program is free and is unlike any the library has offered before. Children can select any book they want and be rewarded for time spent reading. They receive weekly prizes -- not for numbers of books or pages, but simply for the time they spend enjoying reading.
This is an excellent opportunity for parents and grandparents to inspire children to read and to spend time with them. Whether it's time at the library, time reading at home or time spent with a book under a tree -- it all counts in more ways than one.
Busy parents will appreciate the summer reading program because it fits well into any schedule. The library is open for more hours and children can pick up books without changing their schedule of swimming lessons, summer school or vacation plans that often fill a family's summer time.
The program climax will be a grand-prize-drawing picnic to be held at Rumsey Park on July 30. All children who participate in the summer reading program will be eligible for fantastic prizes that relate to reading and Arizona.
Stop by the library and sign-up your children or grandchildren this week. Call 474-2585 for more information. There is no better way to give a vacation of adventure and wonder to a child, that can last a lifetime, than to help them discover the joy of reading.
-- Richard Haddad, Publisher