Owensboro and Daviess County public schools districts are providing students more access to books this summer in an effort to promote reading while school is not in session.

Sutton Elementary School's media center will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. twice a month, with the remaining days being June 20, July 11 and July 25. Principal Krista Thompson said school officials opted to provide these limited hours to Sutton families because it is the first year they have embarked on the Scholastic Summer Reading Program. The reading program's participation was voluntary and involves students reading books throughout the summer and winning prizes for doing so when school is back in session.

Because of that, Thompson said, Sutton officials want to help contribute to kids' logged reading hours by giving them another opportunity to get to books.

"It's so important to keep kids reading throughout the summer," she said.

Students who are interested in coming to the media center during the summer must do so with a parent or family member. The first day the media center was open earlier this month, Thompson said 10 families showed up, and students were excited to be in the building.

"They were so excited to come back to the school, and we want them to want to come to school and for it to be positive," she said.

Tamarack Elementary School's media center will also be open this summer from 9 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday through July 24.

Tim Crabtree, Tamarack family resource center coordinator, said attendance has been low during these open hours, but he hopes that adding a free library in front of the school will help increase participation.

"It's a way for kids to still be able to check out books and read during the summertime and still be able to come to their home school and do it," he said.

James Lyddane, Daviess County Public Schools director of elementary schools, said several other elementary schools also participated in the open media center program a few weeks ago, but that the Exploration Station is equipped with books students may check out throughout the summer.

The Exploration Station is a school bus that has been refurbished into a mobile learning laboratory.

This summer the bus will travel to three locations: from 9:30 to 11 a.m. every Monday from June 3-July 22 (except for June 24) Southern Oaks will bring the bus to Chuck Gray Court; Sorgho Elementary and West Louisville will be teaming up to host the bus from 5 to 7 p.m. June 13, June 20, June 27 and July 11 to the pavilion next to the Sorgho baseball field, 5390 Kentucky 56; and Burns Elementary School will sponsor the bus from 9:30 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday from June 18 to July 16 at Towne Square Court.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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