By CHRIS EDENS
Reading had its rewards Tuesday morning in Talala.
Over 30 children attended the Talala Library Summer Reading Program finale. Participants received a free book, toys and gift certificates for snow cones, tater tots and ice cream.
About 20 children who read 20 books or more were entered in a drawing for a $60 and a $70 gift card from Wal-Mart. The readers also earned a chance to win a two hour sailboat ride from Redbud Marina.
Children who read eight books or more received a free t-shirt. Talala Grocery provided snacks for the party and Hometown Pizza delivered lunch.
“It was quite a successful summer reading program. We had great donations from Legos and the children loved it. I think the Legos were their favorite activity,” program director Linda McGowen said.
Northwest Fire Department brought a brush truck to the finale. The children were giggling and laughing as they ran under a cool spray of water from the fire truck on a warm summer day.
After cooling off, the children took turns trying to release candy from a pair of pinata’s. Northwest Firefighters gave a presentation on fire safety and Oologah Corps Ranger Jason Person talked to the children about water safety.
“We had a wonderful and fun summer. All the participants were super nice and super cooperative,” said assistant program director Susan Bilinski. “The kids were just so much fun this year.”
The children also got a chance to get a temporary tattoo and play in a bounce house.
The theme for this year’s program was “Fizz, Boom, Read.” The children conducted experiments, made snow globes and made edible marsh mellow robots.
The program is designed to keep a child’s reading level from dropping over the summer months. Bilinski said children can lose 30 percent of what they learned the previous school year during the summer.
McGowen and Bilinski wanted to thank all the program’s sponsors and volunteers. They said the summer reading program wouldn’t be possible without their help.