Oz characters promote summer reading program

They were off to see the wizard the wonderful wizard of books.

On Tuesday, representatives of the Craig-Moffat County, Dinosaur and Maybell libraries promoted the summer reading program by encouraging elementary school students to follow the yellow brick road to the library.

Dressed as "Wizard of Oz" characters, the scarecrow (J'Lea Driver), lion (Diane Gould), tin man (Wendy Peterson), wizard of books (Norma Snyder) and Dorothy (Ginny Franks) and her dog, "Toto," the group made its way to each elementary school Tuesday afternoon.

"This is a kick-off and promotion for our summer reading program," Ginny Franks, Craig-Moffat County children's librarian, said. It also promoted National Library Week.

The "Wizard of Oz" theme was reworked by the library to coincide with the "Summer Scenes" theme of the summer reading program. With Summer Scenes, the library and readers will promote books on theaters, plays, puppets and anything relating to acting and drama. Library personnel reworked parts of the "Wizard of Oz" skits to go along with the Summer Scene theme.

"The 'Wizard of Oz' is something all children like and know," Franks said.

During the skit, each "Oz" character was given something they were missing. For the scarecrow's missing brain, he was given a book on millennia facts. For the lion and his lacking courage, he was given books on adventure. The tin man, with no heart, was given the book "Chicken Soup for the Young Soul."

Interacting with students, the group led a promotional chant on reading to the beat of the "YMCA" song by the Village People.

Franks and other "Oz" characters' goal was to pre-register students for the Summer Scene program. Last year, students at each school were given a certain number of books to read. If they read all the books, their principals had to eat sardines. Although a "prize" for completing a quota this year has yet to be determined, East Elementary Principal Guy Gladden promised his students a celebration in the fall, if they exceed their number of hours.

This summer, students will have their pictures taken and placed on playbills (programs for theatrical productions). Students will keep track of all hours spent reading by marking off hours in their playbills. Students completing hours will receive food coupons, bookstore certificates and other incentives. Pre-registration will remain open until June 12.

Last year, 562 students participated and Franks hopes there will be more students this year.

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