Of the Baker City Herald

I want to read 20 books this summer, said seven-year-old Makayla Williams from Baker City.

Preschool and elementary-aged children like Makayla will have the opportunity to Read a Wild Tale while attending free Summer Reading 2001 sessions at the Baker County Public Library.

The reading sessions are part of a state-wide program presented by the Oregon Library Association which hopes to improve the reading skills of 100,000 children this summer.

Anne Van Sickle, president of the Oregon Library Association said, Its simple: kids who read, succeed in school and in life.

The sessions in Baker City are organized by Childrens Literature Program Director Melissa Jeffery. The summer sessions started Tuesday and will be held every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. through Aug. 15.

Tuesday morning, Jeffery led 50 children in a question and answer session followed by an explanation of different types of books.

The goal is to figure out how cool it is to read. During the summer you have the chance to read whatever books you like, Jeffery told the group.

Jeffery then read two tall tale books by author/illustrator Stephen Kellog. The children giggled, whispered and answered Jefferys questions in unison. Story time was followed by a half hour of craft time where participants started creating costumes related to the programs wild west theme.

Chelsea Brown helped the children string beads and glue tin foil during craft time. Brown is a teen who volunteers at the library during the summer for six hours each week. Ive done this for three years now. I like using the library and this is a chance for me to give back to it, she said.

The costumes will be worn during the Veterans of Foreign Wars Youth Parade June 30. Line up for the parade begins at 10 a.m. in front of Baker City Hall.

The summer session will end with a carnival and bike rodeo held at the library on Aug. 15. Jeffery said the more time children spend reading this summer, the more raffle tickets they will earn for the carnival where they can trade in their tickets for books, pencils, stickers and T shirts.

Ten-year-old Baker resident Nina Gabiola said she loved getting messy when she made her cowboy jewelry out of tin foil, pipe cleaners, glue, beads and string.

The sessions will be held in the Story Room of the library located at 2400 Resort St.