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Campers hit the books



Published: Fri, July 20, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The reading program gives kids a chance to discoveran early love of literature.

By NANCY TULLIS

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

Five-year-old Cherokee Hall hasn't been to school yet, but she knows she's going to love it.

Cherokee is one of more than 100 children participating in the East Palestine PTO's weeklong summer reading camp at the city park community center. The event concludes today.

Although she can't read yet, Cherokee said she loves books, and can write her name. "I can kick the kickball and go down the slide all by myself," she proudly proclaimed.

Volunteers read to participants and help them read. Crafts and games go along with the stories.

The camp's theme is Race to Read, and participants learned about the Olympic Games.

Mayor Raymond Hull conducted opening ceremonies Monday and area high school athletes have been among the week's guest readers.

Krista Wright, a third-grade teacher at East Palestine Elementary, helped with the program.

"We try to keep the kids interested in reading," Wright said. "Even in the summer it's important to read so that they don't lose their skills."

Getting started: Lisa Mahoney and Candy Cope approached the PTO two years ago about starting the summer program in the park. Both work in the pool ticket counter, and Cope is also a librarian at East Palestine Elementary.

They said they wanted to give the children who spend many of their summer vacation days in the park an opportunity to hone their reading skills, and show them that reading doesn't have to be a chore.

Jacob Nezbeth, 5, is looking forward to starting school, and said stories about "animals in the woods" are his favorite.

Jacob was giving 5-year-old Ryan Henderson advice about finding hidden pictures on a coloring page. Jacob said the reading camp helps him prepare for school.

"I read two books at a time," Jacob said, "one eye on one book and one on the other."




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