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Adopt-A-Pet program gets kids reading

June 21, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

For this year's summer reading program at Traer Public Library, kids have a brand new friend to read to in a cuddly, stuffed animal provided by the library staff.

Inner City Slickers, a national organization dedicated to building confidence in at-risk youth through horses, donated 60 stuffed animals to the library from PetsMart after member Cindy Corwin heard about the library's programs.

"We decided to make these stuffed animals to area schools and organizations in the area," Corwin said. "I have a close friend in Traer and she recommended the library."

Article Photos

Traer Library staff show off the donated stuffed animals kids could adopt for this summer’s reading program and read to for prizes. Photo submitted.

From there, Librarian Rosanne Foster thought about how the animals could be used and came up with the Adopt-A-Pet program. Kids would be able to bring a stuffed animal home with them to read to them or have their parents read to them.

"We went a step further in if you read to your pet ten times, you can bring a sheet back and you get prizes for reading," Foster said. "The idea is that you do it all summer long."

Foster and the staff at Traer Public Library brought the idea to life to address the fact many summer reading programs across the country are moving towards more entertainment, rather than actual reading.

"We're glad to add the reading aspect with these pets," Foster said. "You want kids in the library, and we do what we can to bring them here to read. It used to be kids would have to read so many books or so many pages for these programs. Anything that gets the kid to read is going to help them when they go back to school in the fall. Adopt-A-Pet is just one way we accomplish our goal."

The program has proven to be a success as all 60 stuffed animals have been rented out. Corwin is currently working on getting the library more animals for kids who were not able to get an animal in time.

"The way the library is using these stuffed animal is awesome for their reading program," Corwin said. "It's a great incentive to get kids to read. Another great component of this is these animals aren't ending up in a landfill, but instead being put to great use."

To learn more about Inner City Slickers, check out Adopt-A-Pet will continue until school resumes in late August. School-age readers can also take accelerated reading tests in addition to the Adopt-A-Pet program as well as take part in planned activities at the library this summer. Next, the library will host Carolyn Richard, the Dinosaur Lady, to present dinosaur fossils, eggs and reproduction pieces to all ages.



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