Local NRCS, others team up to inspire
400-plus kids to catch the reading bug A group of approximately 75 kids from 4- to 11-years-old, who participate in the annual Summer Reading Program at the Vermillion Public Library (VPL) from June 2-July 25, listened with intense concentration as Deron Ruesch, district conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Vermillion, read Diary of a Worm. This book by New York Times bestselling author Doreen Cronin and New York Times bestselling illustrator Harry Bliss, is told from a kid wormâ�?�?s perspective, who the children learn is much like them in some ways. As he shared from wormâ�?�?s diary, worm writes, â�?�?Mom says there are three things I should always remember: 1. The earth gives us everything that we need. 2. When we dig tunnels, we help take care of the earth. 3. Never bother Daddy when heâ�?�?s eating the newspaper.â�? At this, the kids roared back in a chorus of laugher. Ruesch, who works with Clay County ag producers and landowners in a partnership effort with other USDA professionals to help them to conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment, said that this was the perfect opportunity to read a fun, conservation-related book to inspire kids to read more. When he finished the book, he quizzed the kids to see what they could tell him about earthworms, and then invited them to crawl through a 15-ft. worm tunnel. Joyce Moore, the childrenâ�?�?s librarian for the VPL, said, â�?�?Deron did a wonderful job. The children were really entertained by the book he read, and he did a great job applying it to this yearâ�?�?s theme, â�?�?Catch the reading bug.â�?�? He even related it to the conservation theme from Wall-E; the current movie playing in Vermillion. The library took over 200 people to see the movie as the June Family Party for our readers.â�? The VPL started the summer reading program in the 1970s, and itâ�?�?s still running strong. However, it would be impossible to do so without the support from professionals like Ruesch, and 50-plus local businesses, organizations and individuals who invest their time and financial support. Over 400 children registered free-of-charge for this yearâ�?�?s program, according to Moore. â�?�?Our goal is to get kids to the library and keep them reading so they donâ�?�?t lose these skills over the summer. We try to make it as fun as we can. We have incentives and prizes and lots of activities which are theme- and book-related. Itâ�?�?s good to get local people involved. We could not do what we do without community support,â�? Moore said. For example, there are special programs on Mondays, crafts on Tuesdays, movies on Wednesdays, reading clubs on Thursdays, and story times for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Beginning and intermediate readers, who read 100 minutes a week and complete their reading log, receive a prize. Youth and adults can also participate in special events throughout the summer and may join a reading program with incentive prizes, too. For more information about the summer reading program, visit the VPLâ�?�?s summer program page online at (http:://vpl.sdln.net/summer.htm) or stop at the public library and pick up a â�?�?Catch the Reading Bugâ�? calendar.