Chattanooga, Tenn. (Jan. 8, 2018) – From ravenous caterpillars and selfless trees to gentle bulls and motoring toads, animals and plants are among the first literary characters to which young readers are introduced.
In recognition of the importance of parents as first-teachers and the role natural settings and characters play in forging a love of reading, the Aquarium and the Chattanooga Public Library are launching a promotion today that rewards kids for delving into nature-themed books. Through March 5, the Rivers of Reading program will provide single-day passes to the Aquarium to children up to age 17 who finish three program-relevant books.
Participants can pick up a special Rivers of Reading bookmark from one of the library’s four branches. Kids will receive a stamp on their bookmark after checking out and reading an approved title. After collecting three stamps, the bookmark can be presented at the Aquarium for one-time admission for a child and an accompanying adult.
Each library branch will receive 300 bookmarks for this pilot program which is intended to reach children of families who otherwise could not afford to visit. These bookmarks will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Free admission expires on March 5.
The lasting impact of visiting the Aquarium cannot be overstated, says Aquarium Director of Science Education Dr. Brooke Gorman.
“Visiting the Aquarium, especially early in life, can be an eye-opening opportunity to see science come alive,” Gorman says. “Parents play a huge role as the foremost guide in a child’s education. By visiting the Aquarium with their children, they’re sparking their curiosity for science and, through the Rivers of Reading program, inspiring a deeper passion for reading.”
Rivers of Reading is open to any family with a valid Chattanooga Public Library card. Aquarium staff and librarians have created a curated list of appropriate books for reading levels from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, but any nature-themed title approved by a librarian will count toward the program.
Beyond letting children meet the real-life counterparts of cherished literary characters, Rivers of Reading will inspire even more young readers to love the written word, says Chattanooga Public Library Executive Director Corinne Hill.
"The new Rivers of Reading partnership with the Aquarium is another exciting way the library is working with the community to help our city's youngest readers start on a path toward lifelong reading and learning,” Hill says. “Seeing animal characters come to life with a visit to the Aquarium after devouring nature books from the booklist is a brilliant way to not only reward these curious kids, but ignite their imaginations through play and discovery so that they continue!"