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First graders celebrate 24th Annual Wyoming Reads Day

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 5:30 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The 24th Annual Natrona County Wyoming Reads celebration was held at the Natrona County Library and Nicolaysen Art Museum (NIC) on Tuesday, May 17.

Over 1,000 Natrona County first-graders from public, private, and home schools attended. Over 6,900 books were distributed to first-graders at Wyoming Reads literacy celebrations held across the state in each of Wyoming’s 23 counties on the same day.

“We’re here to share with you the magic of reading. Reading really is magic. If you can read you become a prince or a princess on a magical page of a book. If you can read you can do anything,” said Casper Cares, Casper Reads Founder John Jorgensen.

Celebrity Readers from the community, including First Lady Jennie Gordon, read books to the first graders at stations throughout the Library.

“Just being able to sit with kids who really have that curiosity naturally and want to listen to people read it just fills my heart and fills my bucket,” said Gordon.

After being read to, students enjoyed a special fairytale about “The Good Queen Sue,” a tribute to Sue Jorgensen, in whose memory the event was established. The fairytale was presented as a play performed at the Nicolaysen Art Museum, featuring students from the Natrona County High School Theatre Department.

Wyoming Reads celebrations focus on the joy of reading, highlighted by each child receiving a hardback book with their name printed inside the cover, donated by the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation. Earlier this year, children had the opportunity to choose which book they would like to receive from six options.

“During the year, it’s a part-time job getting it ready to look this simple... Then you get here on this morning and you see the joy on the faces of these children as they open that book they ordered way back... We try to make it very exciting,” said Jorgensen.

Jorgensen established the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation in 1996 and founded the Casper Cares, Casper Reads festival to honor his late wife’s commitment to children and reading. The celebration was expanded statewide as Wyoming Reads in 2006.

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