JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
LLANO — Just when Llano Elementary School students thought they’d gotten away from cracking open a book, the Llano County Library arrived with several books on the last day of class so the youngsters could take them home to read.
The books are part of a pilot program funded by a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, which awarded $2,800 to the library. Scholastic then gave the library discounted prices to purchase books for 23 students going into grades 1-3 who were chosen to participate in the program by teachers.
“These kids probably didn’t get read to as toddlers,” said Llano children’s librarian Ann Rossberg. “With kids out for the summer, they don’t have access to books or can come to the library.”
The chosen students are those who are reading at grade-level but could fall behind unless they have access to books, she said.
“(Teachers are) worried (children) will lose that,” Rossberg said.
Each student was given a box of 12 books and must keep track of the time spent reading. Students are eligible for prizes based on the amount of time they read.
The books included “Pete the Cat,” the “Junie B. Jones” collection, “Henry and Mudge,” “Frog and Toad” and nonfiction books on snakes, animals, the weather, planets and biographies.
“They’ll appreciate and read them,” Rossberg said.
Some of the books can be kept, while others must be returned to the library because officials are hoping the program is successful enough to make it a permanent part of summer activities and include fourth- and fifth-graders, Rossberg said.
Halfway through the summer, students can bring the books to the library to get fresh reading material.
Dollar General Literacy Foundation sent notice of the grant in the middle of May. The books were purchased and arrived by the last day of school, just in time to ensure a leisurely summer of reading.