Between dips in the pool and slumber parties, Chico Mayor J.D. Clark hopes children in Wise County will dive into a good book over the summer.
Clark recently announced a community reading initiative, encouraging children and adults to read during the summer months.
“Being a teacher, I’m in the unique position of having the summer months off. I’m in city hall a lot, and I’ll be there this summer during the budgeting process,” Clark said. “I was thinking of something I could do during the summer to combine what I do as a day job with the mayor position.”
The program will culminate with a reception and drawings for prizes for kids who read at least six of the books on Clark’s list, which includes books specific to each grade level. However, children are not required to read books within their grade level.
“A lot are books I remember reading or are books that my students enjoy and talk about,” Clark said.
Clark plans to keep his grading skills sharp, too – he is asking participating children to send a half-page summary of each book read.
Clark’s list for adults includes some of his favorites.
“I read a lot, and I thought I could put together a list that really impacted me,” he said. “They may disagree – they may think it’s a terrible book. But it will get them talking about it.”
Clark plans to have discussions about the adult list on his Facebook page.
The program begins June 1 and will conclude with the beginning of school. In its first year, Clark is hoping to have enough response for the initiative to continue next year.
“I would like to try to do some kind of reading encouragement,” he said. “I feel it’s so important for whatever they want to do later.”
The program is open for kids and adults throughout the county.
The reading lists are available on the municipal website, www.cityofchicotexas.com.