, Muskogee, OK

January 28, 2014

Chili tonight, readers tomorrow

Cook-off supports reading program

By Travis Sloat
Times Staff Writer

— Enjoying chili tonight offers an opportunity to help Fort Gibson children.

The True Grit Chili Cook-off, hosted by the Q.B. Boydstun Public Library, will help raise funds to support the library’s Summer Reading Program.

Michelle Waldroup, a library clerk, said the Summer Reading Program is a lot more than just having kids read during the summer months.

“It’s aimed to get kids reading during the summer, but there’s more,” Waldroup said. “Last year, we had the Royal Gauntlet Birds of Prey, the Mad Scientist and a magic archeologist come out. The $5 tasting kit for the cook-off goes to helping us get those guests coming in, as well as provide activities and prizes for the kids.”

The 2014 Summer Reading Program theme is “Fizz Boom Read,” and will feature a myriad of reading suggestions and activities for those who participate.

Faith Waldroup, an eighth-grader at Hilldale, said she doesn’t really like to read, but likes the program because it rewards her for reading.

“I won some prizes last year,” she said. “I kept reading because I wanted to try and win the big prize at the end. I’m going to do it again this year. When I do read, I like reading books about history, and I like “The Hunger Games” as well.”

Children who participate in the Summer Reading Program have different benchmarks to complete depending on what age they are. Younger children must read with their parents, and teenagers are rewarded after reading a certain amount of pages. Then, those who have completed the benchmarks get their names in a drawing for a big prize at the end of the summer.

Kirk Kuykendall, a Fort Gibson resident, said he approves of the Summer Reading Program and what it does for the kids of Fort Gibson.

“I think it’s great,” Kuykendall said, “I’m for anything to keep the kids away from video games.”

The “True Grit” theme for this year’s chili cook-off is based on The Big Read, which is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture, according to its website.

Michelle Waldroup said she’s hoping to have at least 10 cooks in the cook-off, and it’s a good way for the adults in the community to help raise money and awareness for the Summer Reading Program.

“The kids can come in and read whatever they want,” she said. “A lot of them read Accelerated Reader texts because when they go back to school they can test on them.”

Waldroup also said the Summer Reading Program can benefit parents and children.

“It gives kids and parents something to do,” she said. “Parents can drop the older children off and go run errands, and if they’re in here reading or participating in an activity, then they aren’t outside getting into trouble.”

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or tsloat@muskogee

If you go

WHAT: True Grit Chili Cook-off.

WHEN: 6 to 7 tonight.

WHERE: Q.B. Boydstun Public Library, 201 E. South Ave., Fort Gibson.

ETC.: Tasting kids are available for $5. Proceeds benefit the 2014 Summer Reading Program.

INFO: (918) 478-3587.