Catching the reading bug

June 14, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - Libraries in Washington County will be buggin' children all summer long - but the youngsters probably aren't going to mind.

And insect repellent won't be necessary.

"Catch the Reading Bug" kicked off Friday at the main branch of the Washington County Free Library at 100 S. Potomac St. Many of the county's branch libraries will be participating.

Jeff Ridgeway, head of children's services, said the library has been sponsoring summer reading programs since the 1930s.

Dozens of youths of all ages turned out Friday morning for face painting, balloon sculptures, ice cream and insect-themed games.

The task of organizing the kickoff and coordinating the summertime events fell to Catherine Hall, who joined the children's staff about a year ago.

"All summer, the children will keep track of the books they read, and we will stamp their game boards," Hall said.


Younger children will have one game board, while older children and teens will have another, each of which is age-appropriate, Ridgeway said.

Chris Marenco, 9, who will be a Salem Avenue fourth-grader in the fall, attended the event with his family because he loves to read.

"I like adventure books and comics," Chris said.

While he was there, Chris played a game in which he tried to toss big plastic bugs into a washtub filled with water. When he scored a dunk with one of his bugs, Chris got his choice of prizes - an orange plastic bracelet.

Inside, out of the heat, there was a master gardener table with exhibits about insects. There also were crafts and games for all ages.

"All summer, the children get five points for coming to a library program and 10 points for reading an age-appropriate book," Ridgeway said. "It all adds up to prizes."

Megan Reeser, 9, and her friend, Florence Petite, 8, went to the event with Florence's father, Darren Petite, and Megan's mother, Julie Reeser.

Florence said she especially enjoyed making a visor that came in handy when she went out into the sun. Both she and Megan confessed they love to read.

Joseph Petite, 5, was having too much fun throwing bugs into the washtub. The love of reading will have to wait a while to "bite" him.

Want to know more?

For more information on this summer's reading program and other library events, go to

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