Area students attended a summer reading program “Night at the Ballpark” event in Marion hosted by three Southern Illinois state legislators. Photo provided.

Legislators host ‘Night at the Ballpark’ event

Three Southern Illinois state legislators hosted a special “Night at the Ballpark” event July 20 for their annual summer reading club in Marion.

“Night at the Ballpark” was hosted by State Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, State Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton, and State Rep. Paul Jacobs, R-Pomona. 

The lawmakers invited students in 1st through 4th grades to read eight books over the summer and have a parent or guardian verify the books by submitting a form to the legislators’ offices. 

“Night at the Ballpark” was held at Mountain Dew Park in Marion during the Thrillville Thrillbillies baseball game versus the Jackson, Tenn., Rockabillys.

“This is a very special event that keeps getting bigger each year,” Windhorst said in a news release.

“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.”

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.”

Jacobs is the state representative who serves the cities of Marion and Carbondale.

Jacobs said 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.”

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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