Library and Wrestling Federation team up for literacy

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Area teens and tweens have the chance to win a trip to WWE(r)'s SummerSlam in Los Angeles this summer by taking part in the SummerSlam Reading Jam. Viola Public Library District is part of a pilot project sponsored by World Wrestling Entertainment(r) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Starting June 24, Viola Public Library District will give out posters featuring WWE Superstars Rey Mysterio(r), Evan Bourne(tm), Beth Phoenix(tm) and Eve(tm) to the first 25 patrons between ages 10 and 18 who check out two books. Posters, each of which are numbered, are available until July 16 or as long as supplies last.

On July 17, will post the winning and alternate numbers from the numbered posters. Teens or tweens with posters with winning and alternate numbers must take their poster to their librarian at Viola Public Library District to confirm they have won or are an alternate.

Two grand prize winners will win airfare to Los Angeles for two, two nights' hotel, two tickets to the WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view event and $200 spending money. Ten first prize winners will win copies of the WWE Encyclopedia. Contact Lill Batson at Viola Public Library District to learn more about the program.

The program is designed by WWE and YALSA to encourage teens and tweens to read for fun throughout the summer. One good starting place is YALSA's Teens' Top Ten, in which teens select their favorite ten books of the past year. The twenty-five nominees for the 2009 Teens' Top Ten can be downloaded at and teens can vote for their favorites from the nomination list beginning Aug. 24.

WWE and YALSA also partner to offer the WrestleMania Reading Challenge each fall, in which teens are challenged to read a book a week for ten weeks and can win prizes as a reward.

"Today's teens and tweens have less and less free time, and there are increasingly more activities to for them to take part in during what little leisure time they have,” said Sarah Debraski, YALSA president. "It is important to encourage teens to set aside some time to read for fun. Having an incentive, such as the SummerSlam Reading Jam, is a fun way to encourage them to do so."

Studies show that teens who read consistently for pleasure become better readers. Lill Batson hopes to increase teen literacy locally by offering their annual summer reading program for teens, and hopes that by participating in this pilot project, she can encourage even more youth to read this summer.

The library's summer reading program, On Safari at the Library, began June 8 and ends July 10. Children grades preschool through 1st grade must read, or have read to them, four books per week. Children 2nd grade through 12th grade must read one book per week. Adults are also encouraged to sign up and read one book per week.

Activities this year include a game day for children on Thursday June 11; creating cards to send to troops in Iraq on June 28; a petting zoo at Miles Memorial Park on June 25 at 1 p.m.; and the Forest Park Nature Center program "Adaptation: Nature's Tool Box" on July 2 at 10 a.m. at the library. All events and programs are free to area children. 

YALSA and WWE's SummerSlam Reading Jam takes place June 24 to July 16. To find out more about the SummerSlam Reading Jam, the Teens' Top Ten, or the WrestleMania Reading Challenge, contact Viola Public Library District at 596-2620 or stop in during normal library hours.

The library is located at 1705 14th Street in Viola.  Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. - noon and 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m. - noon and 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.; and Saturday 9 a.m.-noon.