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Chicago Public Library launches new book reading club for kids

“Ling Ting: Not Exactly Same” by Grace Lin

“Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same” by Grace Lin

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Hop Into
New Reader
Book Club

♦ Through May 24

♦ All Chicago Public Library locations

♦ Free

♦ (312) 747-4050;

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Updated: March 13, 2013 5:50PM

Attention, Chicago’s kindergarten, first and second graders and their parents.

If you can read this, the Chicago Public Library has got something even better for you to read — a whole lot of books and a new book club just for you.

For the first time, the Chicago Public Library is launching a program to support the city’s earliest readers.

“Hop Into Reading: New Reader Book Club” debuts March 15 at every Chicago library and runs through May 24. Parents are asked to read with their children for 20 minutes every day. The kids keep a “frog log” — which can be picked up at your local library branch — and when it is completed and returned to the library they are entered into a raffle for a collection of books.

“Kindergarten through second grade — those are the grades where typically kids are learning to read and they’re really practicing hard on reading,” said Elizabeth McChesney, director of Chicago Public Library’s Children and Young Adult Services. “We wanted to encourage them with that.”

The K-2 grades are critical for building a foundation for future school success, she said. It’s also a time where books designed for beginning readers are written in a specific style to aid everything from building eye strength to building vocabulary.

“Hop Into Reading” is rolling out in the spring because that’s when students are practicing the reading skills they have spent all year learning. The library still will be offering its summer reading program, McChesney said, and this can help young readers gear up for that.

She’s hoping “Hop Into Reading” will help facilitate parents and their children to spend the time to read together.

“It’s fun and it’s great bonding,” she said. “There’s no better time than when a child is sitting on your lap and you’re reading together and exploring new ideas together.”

It’s also good practice for new readers to read out loud to someone. McChesney suggests that parents read a page, then let their child read a page. Twenty minutes will fly by and parents might be pleasantly surprised to see how this time translates into stronger school performance.

“If I hadn’t had the library collection to help support the way my kids were learning we’d really be up a tree,” she said. “We want to help families by promoting the resources available to them.”

For parents who might find picking out appropriate books with their children intimidating, McChesney recommended asking the children’s librarians throughout the city.

These books, she said, are also among the most popular for early readers: “Elephant and Piggie” books by Mo Willems; “Frog and Toad “books by Arnold Lobel; “Benny and Penny” books by Geoffrey Hayes; “Pete the Cat” books by James Dean and Eric Litwin; “Up, Tall and High” by Ethan Long; “Fly Guy” books by Tedd Arnold; “Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same” by Grace Lin; “Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover” by Cece Bell; “Mouse and Mole” books by Wong Herbert Yee; “Zelda and Ivy” by Laura McGee Kvasnosky. For non-fiction check out National Geographic Kids, DK Readers, Rookie Readers, We Both Read and Pebble Plus Books.

For more information, visit one of the 79 Chicago Public Library locations throughout the city, visit Call (312) 747-4050.


A long list of Disney characters will join together in a band Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Akoo Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont. “Mickey’s Musical Festival” features more than 25 characters from “Toy Story,” “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid,” among others, jamming Disney tunes set to reggae, rock, swing and country beats. Tickets are $15 to $70 and shows are at 7 p.m. March 15, 1 p.m, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 16 and 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. March 17. For more information go to

NOTE: Due to changes with tour schedules, ticket holders for “Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever” will be honored at “Mickey’s Musical Festival.”

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