MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Strawberry Festival Royalty helped Pinewood Elementary kick off its summer reading program in style on Wednesday, June 19, as students from kindergarten through the fifth grade returned to the school’s library during their summer vacation to check out books and read with princes and princesses.
“I love that it gives the kids something to do,” said Elva Henry, mother to fourth-grader Cooper, who’s been stopping by the Pinewood Elementary library each summer since he was in kindergarten.
“This is my daughter’s dream come true,” laughed Angie Gooding, as her daughter Gloria sat on the floor to read a book with Princess Franqui Rojas. “Gloria loves princesses, so now, she gets to read with a princess. As much as 35 percent of students’ scholastic skills can be lost over summer vacations if they’re not kept up, so it’s very generous of Pinewood Elementary to open its library’s doors when the rest of the school is out.”
Shelley Doty serves as a teacher and librarian at Pinewood Elementary, and she reported that the reading program at the school’s library has been going strong for eight years.
“When kids come here, they get the benefit of librarians who are either already familiar with their reading levels, or able to help find the right level of books for them. It’s fantastic for shy kids, and it’s been wonderful to get to know all these kids’ families.”
Since Shelley Doty is the mother of Madison Doty, this year’s Strawberry Festival Queen, the entire Royalty Court took it upon themselves to take part in the inaugural event of this year’s summer reading program.
“By helping kids get more excited about reading, we’re just building another bridge toward the rest of their learning,” Madison Doty said. “As role models for these kids, we’re happy to help boost attendance for events like this, and to interact with members of the community on a more personal level.”
“They’ve definitely drawn fans,” Pinewood Elementary Principal Breeze Williams said. “One kindergarten girl said, ‘I came because I heard there were going to be princesses.’ We usually get about 30 families at the library, so we’ll monitor those numbers to see if attractions like this can’t make a difference.”
Shelley Doty reported that the day saw 47 students show up, plus their parents and siblings, who checked out a total of 261 books.
“This is the highest daily attendance we have ever had,” Shelley Doty said. “It was exciting to see families stay and read, some for the full two hours.”
Pinewood Elementary’s summer reading program continues Wednesday mornings, from 10 a.m. to noon, through Aug. 21.