New Market Library begins winter reading program

The New Market Area Library is holding a winter reading throughout the month to encourage reading in younger children.

The program is open to all area children up to age 6, said Karen Whetzel, chair of the Shenandoah County School Board.

“We want to emphasize the importance of reading to children and how reading can be a fun activity during cold winter time,” she said.

The New Market Area Library participates in the winter reading program with other area libraries in the Shenandoah County Library system. It is a statewide celebration sponsored by the Library of Virginia, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Smart Beginnings. New Market Area Library has been participating in the program since 2011.

Erica Hepner, children’s librarian at the county library, said the purpose of the program is “to instill a love of reading in young children by encouraging shared interactions with books and to educate parents and caregivers on the ways they can advance their children’s early literacy development.”

She added that the mascot for this year’s event is the character of Cow, from the book, “Moo!,” written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka.

Whetzel said the program began on Monday and continues through March 2, corresponding with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Children up to age 6 can get prizes for reading or being read to. Children will also keep a reading log for documentation.

As part of the program, a variety of events will be taking place during the next month.

Today, a Pajama Party will be held at the library from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“Parents bring their children and blankets and spread out and read,” Whetzel said. “We have a special surprise guest coming at 6:45 p.m. to read a book, chat with children about reading and pose for photos.”

On Friday, the weekly February Books and Babies event will be taking place at 10 a.m.

“Parents, grandparents and/or caregivers will bring their babies age birth to three and join together as another volunteer and I read stories, lead songs and chants, do movement activities and do some group play to encourage playing together,” she said.

For preschoolers, a Preschool Storytime will be taking place at 10 a.m. Feb. 19. This program is for children ages 3 to 5.

To finish the program, the annual Read Across America/Dr. Seuss Day celebration will be held at the library from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. March 2.

Mount Jackson, Strasburg, Edinburg and Orkney Springs/Basye locations will hold Read Across America events at the same time.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com