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Entertain kids with a good book this winter break
Hall County Library System continues program for school children
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Flippin' for the children

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‘Reading is Cool’ program
When: Through Jan. 29
Where: Any branch of the Hall County Library
Cost: Free
More info: 770-532-3311

As Christmas break approaches, children across Hall County anticipate the free time a long holiday will bring.

Inevitably, after Santa Claus has come and gone and the last Christmas cookie has been consumed, children will begin questioning what fun there is to be had at home.

The Hall County Library System has a solution: their winter reading program for children able to read through the fifth grade.

“Reading Is Cool!” is the theme for this winter, bringing in a fun play on words.

“We are using snowmen and reindeer (in our decorating) and that is popular with the ‘Frozen’ movie,” said Phyllis Haynes, a library assistant in youth services at the Gainesville branch.

Using prizes as incentives for reading for certain amounts of time, the program encourages kids to spend time daily reading.

The winter reading program evolved from a demand from parents and students who wanted something to do over the winter break, but it is “not nearly as involved as the summer reading program,” Haynes said.

Running until Jan. 29, children can sign up at any branch of the Hall County Library.

Children will make a mark in the log they receive for every 20 minutes they read, earning prizes along the way, increasing in value the more they read.

Rewards for reading include a snowflake tattoo, an Olaf pencil, featuring the character from Disney’s “Frozen” and drawing an item from a prize box.

One of the highest prizes children can receive are vouchers to Ringling Bros. Circus.

“At the end, if they complete (the reading log) they get a VIP ticket to a performance at Spout Springs,” Haynes said.

A juggler also will come to the Spout Springs branch and perform, “only for children who finish.”

Children are allowed to pick their reading material for the program, but it does not have to be books from the library.

“They can read things from school, or … things they have at home,” Haynes said.

Reading can be done quietly alone, or aloud to siblings or other children. It can also be done at the child’s own pace.

This freedom to choose encourages children to read books they are interested in and at a convenient time.

Popular books for the program include “Pinkalicious” by Victoria Kann or other classics such as “Curious George,” “Hank the Cowdog” and “Bernstein Bears.”

“(We) just want them to keep their love of reading, to continue reading … just read for the fun of it, and for the enjoyment,” Haynes said.