Volunteers from the Marysville School District are helping to keep local kids reading this summer with the Reading on the Road program.

The program brings free books to Jennings Park each Wednesday this summer from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. until Aug. 14.

“We’re giving out free books to the community. Any kid and any family is welcome,” said Abigail Skinner, a para-educator with the Marysville School District.

“We also have free snacks from the Navy commissary and the YMCA also donated frisbees and jump ropes to give out,” she said.

The program is funded by the Marysville Rotary Club and is run by volunteers from Kellogg-Marsh Elementary and Shoultes Elementary.

“I wrote a grant and Rotary provided the funding,” said Debbie Whitfield, who works for the Marysville School District.

Staff members help bring a bus full of books to the local park.

“Little kids are so excited to get on the school bus,” said Whitfield.

“It’s exciting when they come out with more than one book and they’re really excited to get them,” said Skinner.

Local parents have also enjoyed having the opportunity to get free books for their children. 

“It’s fantastic. I’m a teacher so it’s great to have books and it’s great that they’re free,” said parent Kirby Shelton.

The program has been run by Marysville staff members for several years now to support reading during the summer break.

“A lot of kids won’t read during the summer and they’ll have what’s called the ‘summer slide’ where they’ve dropped in reading levels because they haven’t been continually reading,” said Amy Gronemyer, an elementary school teacher with the district and volunteer for the program.

“We want kids to read during the summer and so this encourages them to do so,” she said.

The YMCA donated supplies, and holding the event at a local park also encourage kids to keep active, said Skinner.

She said that the event is a good way to stay engaged with local parents and kids during the summer as well.

“This was an event was put together before I started working at the school district but it’s definitely a good way to bring the community together,” said Skinner.

“It’s a good positive thing for the district to show that we are here and we want kids to have fun,” said Gronemyer.

This year has been pretty busy for the program, said Skinner. On some days more than 200 kids came through the bus to get books.

“We’ve been pretty busy and it’s been great with the children’s concerts here because we’ve got a lot of traffic,” she said.

“On the concert days there’s lots of kids and we had lines that went all the way across the park,” said Whitfield.

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