Wyoming Reads celebrates literacy with area first graders


May 23, 2019

Crook County first graders from Hulett, Moorcroft and Sundance made their annual trek to Devils Tower National Monument for the 14th annual Wyoming Reads celebration in Crook County. It was a gorgeous day to enjoy the natural history of Devils Tower with a hike around it.

Ranger Joe Bruce of Devils Tower National Monument was on hand to give a guided tour for the Sundance students. After their hike, students met at the picnic area and ate lunch.

Area coordinator Bonnie Stahla, Youth Services Librarian at the Crook County Library in Sundance, explained how Wyoming Reads came to be and how the Sue Jorgensen foundation was founded. A readers’ theater of Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman was performed by Bonnie Stahla; Carrie Riley, Crook County Adult Services Librarian in Sundance; Lacey Rasco, Youth Services Librarian Moorcroft Branch Library; Heather Graham, Library Aide Moorcroft Branch Library; Bailee Fremont, Sundance Elementary 1st grade teacher; and Kathy Bjornestad, Sundance Elementary Librarian.

This book was chosen to perform to promote the upcoming “A Universe of Stories” summer reading programs at all three libraries in the county. Books were then handed out by teachers and each student received a hardback book with his/her name on a bookplate inside.

The students also received a Devils Tower activity book donated by Devils Tower National Monument.

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

John Jorgensen of Casper leads an extraordinary group of educators and civic leaders to present this annual literacy celebration for the state of Wyoming. John established the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation in 1996 and founded the Casper Cares, Casper Reads celebration in 1999 to honor his late wife’s commitment to literacy and children.

“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.

The local event was renamed Wyoming Reads when it first expanded statewide in 2006. Through the fundraising efforts of the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation, enough money has been raised again this year to give every first grade student in Wyoming their own hardcover book.


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