MARION – State Representatives Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis), Dave Severin (R-Benton), and Paul Jacobs (R-Pomona) hosted a special “Night at the Ballpark” event for their annual summer reading club in Marion last night. The lawmakers invite first through fourth-grade students to read 8 books over the summer and have a parent or guardian verify the books by submitting a form to the legislators’ offices. Last night, the event was held at Mountain Dew Park in Marion during the Thrillville Thrillbillies baseball game versus the Jackson, TN Rockabillys.
“This is a very special event that keeps getting bigger each year,” Windhorst said. “We want to encourage students to read books during the summer to keep their minds sharp. Readers are leaders, and we are doing what we can as legislators to promote literacy for lifelong learning. The ball game is one way we’re contributing to that effort.”
State Rep. Dave Severin started the event a few years ago. Severin serves as the House Republican leader of the Literacy Improves Future Endeavors working group that is pushing a legislative package in Springfield to help students catch up on reading and literacy goals after COVID-19 lockdowns forced students out of schools and harmed their development.
“We as legislators have an obligation to help our students catch back up. What better way than to promote reading during the summer, and then to reward students for their hard work with tickets to a baseball game, and some free ice cream and donuts?” Severin said. “I’m pushing hard to improve our schools and to improve outcomes for our students. The harder they work the more I want to reward and congratulate them. A Thrillville Thrillbillies victory was a nice bit of icing on the cake. Congratulations to all the students that participated and thank you to all of our teachers, school officials, librarians, and parents that helped promote the program to make this year’s event the biggest yet.”
Rep. Jacobs is the State Representative for the city of Marion and Carbondale. Jacobs says he was encouraged by the growing number of students that are participating in the summer reading club program every year.
“We drew quite the response this year, with more than 250 students completing the program and more than 100 students and their parents coming out for the ballgame,” Jacobs said. “We have a lot of work to do to get our students caught up on their reading skills and to get them at grade level. We like to try to assist in that effort by offering incentives that keep kids reading during their summer break.”