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In The Classroom:

Officials read to kids to foster love of books

National Library Week brings in all kinds of shows and activities for community, leaders say.

April 13, 2009|By Saneyee Purandare

Tracy Wineke and her three kids love using the Newport Beach library — it’s an extension of when she read to them as tykes.

“They love to read,” Wineke said. “I started out reading to them when they were young, and now we go to the library every two weeks or so. I think reading exercises the mind and the imagination and brings personal growth.”

Mayor Ed Selich agrees on the importance of feeding the reading habit young — and how. When he picks up a book to read to the kids this week at the library, his 11-week-old granddaughter will be in the audience.

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“I think it is extremely important to participate in reading programs,” Selich said.

“It is important to teach kids reading skills in this age of television and multimedia. It is the key to an educated society; it is what you need no matter how much digital stuff there is. Kids need to be able to enjoy reading.”

The mayor will read to the young ones at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Central Library. Selich will sing and act out the story of “Little Bunny Susu” for pre-schoolers.

Selich has plenty of company, as several council members plan to read to the young ones this week as part of National Library Week activities.

The fun started Monday night with a pajama story-time for children with City Manager Homer Bludau, who read bedtime stories to the kids in his jammies.

Today, Councilman Don Webb will read to preschoolers at the Mariners branch library.

“I have lived very close to Mariners library for many years, and my kids grew up using its support and its youth programs,” Webb said. “It has been a part of the family for all these years.”

Webb has participated in reading programs for kids at the library for almost five years.

“It’s great to see the young children and the looks on their faces and the expressions they have,” he said. “I like participating because it’s about getting them interested in reading. This is our future, our youth. We can either get them stuck in front of the television screen, or give them the opportunity to use our wonderful libraries.”

Webb brought out his hat collection to help him act out the story of Georgio, an Italian small-town man who takes up different jobs and wears a different hat to each of them.

“National Library Week has been, for a long time, a celebration of the nation’s libraries,” said Newport Beach Public Library Services Director Cynthia Pirtle.

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