ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO READ IN SUMMER
Summers are fun for children. Activities abound for them: swimming, fishing, camping with the family, baseball, softball, beach trips, going to the movies and reading.
Reading, you say? A child's escape into a Harry Potter book or some other fanciful work of fiction can be a great summer diversion. Fortunately several summer reading programs have popped up like flowers in Northeast Oregon. Public libraries have offered programs that encourage children to grab a book and read.
The La Grande Public Library, for example, put on a celebration for children last week at Riverside Park. Youngsters received T-shirts and certificates for their efforts in the library's Summer Reading Program. In all, 189 children read a remarkable total of 4,781 books.
The La Grande School District also got into the act, encouraging children to improve their reading through its Summer Literacy Program. Approximately 90 children were impacted by the six-week program that took place at Willow and Greenwood schools. Fourteen Eastern Oregon University students were there to tutor the youngsters. In addition, the children did artwork or other creative projects that tied in with a book they read together.
Children, of course, do not have to be connected to a school district or library summer reading program in order to enjoy the wonders of books. Parents can provide incentives to get their youngsters' noses in books. For example, a dollar could be added to a child's vacation trip fund for every book read.
Kids who read during the summer return to school in the fall with enhanced skills, ready to tackle their class work with more enthusiasm and dedication than their counterparts. Community libraries have wonderful collections of books for children and helpful librarians to point the way. With one more month before children go back to school, it's not too late for parents to encourage children to add reading to the list of things that make summertime enjoyable.
DRIVE FOR CLEAN AIR
La Grande motorists will get a free service beginning Wednesday, and running for two weeks. The city's Air Quality Commission will test exhaust from vehicles as they pass a state-of-the-art, speed indicator-like device set up at various points around town and get an instant readout of air quality. These include spots along Adams Avenue near Hemlock Street and in front of Safeway, on N Avenue and 12th Street, and at some freeway on-ramps.
The project is part of an effort by the commission to make the area's air cleaner. Motorists should cooperate in this educational effort. If their vehicle gets a "fair" or "dirty" rather than "clean" emissions mark, they might want to get their cars into a shop for service as soon as possible, a move that in the long run could save the motorist money. The Grande Ronde Valley, although beautiful, is something of a smog trap, and efforts to keep the air as clean as possible should be applauded.