Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Wyoming Reads celebrates literacy with area first graders

Crook County first graders from Hulett, Moorcroft and Sundance made their annual trek to Devils Tower National Monument for the 18th 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.

After their hike, students met at the picnic area, ate lunch and were then entertained in the amphitheater. Area coordinator Bonnie Stahla, Crook County Library Director, explained how Wyoming Reads came to be and how the Sue Jorgensen foundation was founded.

She read the story of The Good Queen Sue in memory of Sue Jorgensen with the help of all the first graders. A readers' theater of The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt was performed by Bonnie Stahla; Tonia Blakeman, Crook County Youth Services Librarian; Shannon Weaver, Crook County Adult Services Librarian; Lacey Rasco, Youth Services Librarian Moorcroft Branch Library; Shanna Kallhoff, Youth Services Librarian Hulett Branch Library; Amanda Speidel, Sundance Elementary Librarian; Twila Pilcher, Hulett School Librarian; Janet Kanode, Moorcroft Elementary Librarian and Sundance first grade teachers, Marie Cartwright, Colleen Courtney and Haley Schneider.

The first graders performed a response skit with Miss Bonnie and were very enthusiastic about "READ BOOKS". Books were then handed out by teachers and each student received a hardback book with his/her name on a bookplate inside and a bookmark.

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.

Partners in this year's Wyoming Reads celebration include the 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.