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Cottrel: Parents’ dedication to reading can help kids

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.

That old saying came up when I tried to get our kids to read more on their own.

The first child was a natural with books and easily adapted to a good book/junk book routine. Katy would cheerfully alternate biographies and classics with one of those scary junior high book series that I considered “brain candy.”

However, the second child was like that horse mentioned above. She was my outdoors girl. Softball, swimming and climbing trees — that was all she wanted. I returned more books to the library unopened than I like to admit.

After consulting elementary teachers in the family, we devised a plan. Since Liz wanted to take horseback riding lessons, we found some nicely illustrated reading books about horses that could be read right after each lesson while she was still full of enthusiasm.

Liz got my undivided attention as we alternated paragraphs, then pages, and eventually read through the entire “Billy and Blaze” series of children’s books. That was followed by Saddleclub, which she tackled on her own. Now that she is all grown up, I love it that she is the family member undaunted by thick tomes like Harry Potter or Diana Galbadon’s Outlander Series.

This all came to mind last week when I looked at the tremendous reading support schedule that, Maggie Bollar, children’s librarian at the New Carlisle Public Library has planned for June and July.

Following a Western theme, there are three or four activities planned each week that I really could have used during the summer that I got Miss Liz to read.

Each one of the New Carlisle activities could possibly pique your young reader’s interest and be linked to a book on a similar subject.

Coming up later this month are a cowboy roping demonstration, a magic show, a visit by animals from the Columbus Zoo and a LEGO program.

In July they will have a Cowboy Fun show, Bunkhouse Bingo, cowboy sing-a-long, western crafts, and more Legos. July will also bring the legendary worm races and more live animals, this time from the Brukner Nature Center.

Just like at the Enon Branch of the Clark County Library, there are drawings and ways to “earn” prizes by reading. Be sure to take a look at the local merchants who have declared their support of summer reading programs by donating prizes. They deserve our thanks.

To learn more about the summer reading program in New Carlisle visit or call 937-845-3601 to reserve a spot at one of the programs.

A little focused dedication on your part this summer can give your child or grandchild the gift of reading for enjoyment for his or her entire life.

And like I said last week, keeping up with reading over the summer maintains the skills learned last year to give the little sweethearts a head start this fall when school starts again.

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