ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Some students in Orlando tell News 6 that some of the library branches, like the South Trail branch in Orlando have inspired them to want to read more.
“When I was 8 years old, I didn’t like to read books. I acted like I was reading them and would just look at the pictures,” said Rihanna Dessources-Phillips.
Now 10 years old, Dessources-Phillips goes to the South Trail branch of the Orange County Library System every day.
“Now, I love reading,” said Dessources-Phillips.
She said her 4th-grade teacher, and the staff at the South Trail branch library have helped improve her reading skills and inspired her to read more. She is now sharing her knowledge with her younger sister, Itzel.
“I teach her the words and make her say the sounds of the words and she repeats after me,” said Dessources-Phillips. “I feel like I’m teaching her right and that I’m a good sister.”
South Trail’s outreach goes beyond Dessources-Phillips. Through grants like the Duke Grant, library representatives visit local day cares, including the Ivy League Achievers Academy, encouraging kids to read. It’s part of the Summer Reading Program, encouraging children to reach at least 20 minutes a day and to track their progress.
Some students in Orange County have shown a decrease in reading skills during distance learning due to the pandemic. The outreach program is getting children at Ivy League Achievers Academy excited about reading and visiting the library.
“They love it. When I say ‘library’ they pick up everything real quick and get ready to head to the library,” said VPK teacher Ruth Rodriguez.
Members of the South Trail branch providing resources like books and online teaching materials.
“When I needed help, I’d go to the library and ask for a book when I’m teaching the kids about science or animals. I would go to the library, and they’d give me the books that I need,” Rodriquez said.
Sharon Payton has worked at the South Trail branch for about 24 years and said she enjoys serving the community she lives in.
“We’re here, not as a library but what I consider a community center, to help with the children to get them help with reading to help them learn. That’s what we’re here for,” Payton said.
The summer reading program is underway for OCLS. Click HERE to register through Beanstack to keep track of your progress. There are contests for different age groups with prizes given out at the end of the summer. The summer reading program is free with a library card.