Kernels summer reading program continues to grow

HS journalism: More than 2,500 students participate

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By Camryn McPherson, Xavier junior

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Kernels are celebrating their 18th summer encouraging students to read and the program that continues to grow.

This Kernels Summer Reading Program focuses on making sure kids have fun with vacations, sports and other activities, but also still have time to read and be ready for next school year.

From March through June some of the Kernels players, staff and mascot Mr. Shucks visit schools around the area.

“We reach around 25,000 kids,” entertainment and community relations manager Ryne George wrote in an email. “Other schools I don’t visit have kids participate along with many home schooled kids.”

The Kernels estimate 100 schools participate each year.

George took over the program in 2014 and has seen it grow in popularity.

“Schools in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and the surrounding communities have welcomed us with open arms,” George wrote. “Without the schools the program wouldn’t be where it is today.”

An average of 2,500 to 3,000 children participates every year.

George tries to keep the program fresh and relevant and has a goal of getting as many kids involved as he can, and he has seen the results of the program.

“My goal is to show kids how much fun reading can be and encourage them to keep reading even when they have finished the program,” George wrote.

The Kernels hope this program continues to help kids grow a love of reading.

“If this program sparks a lifelong love for reading then I’ve done my job,” George wrote.

Summer readers will be recognized at the game on Aug. 21. You can still print out the reading program page here.

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