“Wyoming Reads” Celebrates Early Childhood Literacy on May 15

On Tuesday, May 15, nearly 8,000 books will be distributed to first-graders at Wyoming Reads literacy celebrations held in each of the state’s 23 counties.

First Lady Carol Mead will be a special guest at the 20th annual Natrona County celebration, held at the Natrona County Library and Nicolaysen Art Museum with over 1,200 Natrona County first-graders, including over 1,000 NCSD first-graders, in attendance from public, private, and home schools. The celebration will begin at 11 a.m.

In addition, 250 Natrona County first-graders will receive their first library card. Celebrity Readers from the community will be stationed at the library to read books to the children, who will also enjoy a picnic lunch provided by NCSD’s Food Services and a special fairytale about “The Good Queen Sue” – a tribute to Sue Jorgensen, in whose memory this event was established.

The fairytale is presented as a play performed at the Nicolaysen Art Museum, featuring students from the Natrona County High School Theatre department. Music will be provided by Richard Turner from the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra.

Earlier this year, children had the opportunity to choose which book they would like to receive from the following options:

  • “Penguin Day: A Family Story” by Nic Bishop
  • “Max and Bird” by Ed Vere
  • “Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door” by Adam Rubin
  • “The Giant Jumperee” by Julia Donaldson
  • “Little Red Riding Sheep” by Linda Ravin
  • “Be Quiet!” by Ryan T. Higgins

Wyoming Reads celebrations focus on the joy of reading, highlighted by each child receiving a hardback book with their name printed inside the cover, donated by the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation.

John Jorgensen established the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation in 1996 and founded the Casper Cares, Casper Reads festival to honor his late wife’s commitment to children and reading. The celebration was expanded statewide as Wyoming Reads in 2006.

“Sue was always very dedicated to children and to literacy,” says John. “She believed that literacy was the foundation for everything in life.” That vision continues to fuel this community literacy initiative.

Partners in this year’s Wyoming Reads celebration include the Tonkin Foundation, McMurry Foundation, Casper Rotary Club, Natrona County Recreation Joint Powers Board, Friends of the Natrona County Library, Casper Kiwanis Club, and a number of generous individuals.

Governor Matt Mead has issued a proclamation naming May 15 as Wyoming Literacy Day. To view the proclamation, visit wyomingreads.org/news.

For more information on Wyoming Reads, please visit wyomingreads.org.


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