In Print

To Be a Playwright by Janet Neipris

"I think I can"

Posted August 31, 2006

Last Thursday children at the Oak Bluffs Public Library heard the familiar mantra, "I think I can, I think I can," read to them from the classic tale "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper. Reading to children is a powerful tool that builds a love for books and a joy for reading in the young audience. The Aug. 24 reading was extra special because it was part of the national Read for the Record event to promote early education and reading readiness.

Children's librarian Irene Tewksbury jumped at the chance to be part of the record-setting read. With the children sitting comfortably on the floor in front of her, Ms. Tewksbury read, changing her voice to from very low to very high, depending on the character. The illustrations in the library's 30th anniversary edition were like a trip down memory lane, unless you are a child. Ms. Tewksbury took a moment to explain one mysterious illustration. "That's when milk came in bottles," she said, and the children nodded and smiled.

After the story was read, the children colored and enjoyed the sunny room on the second floor of the library. One family almost missed the entire event because their map of the Island didn't show the new location of the library. The Sohn family from Simsbury, Conn., went to the old building and panic set in. They began asking everyone they saw, "Where is the library?" Someone in the know directed them to School Street and they arrived just in time for the story. Sheila Sohn said she and her family are regulars at their local library in Connecticut. She and her husband Kevin took time from their vacation to bring son Daniel to the Oak Bluffs library. "Reading is so important," said Ms. Sohn.

There are no final numbers on just how many people read "The Little Engine That Could" on August 24. The most important children to Ms. Tewksbury that day were those sitting in front of her, wide-eyed and chanting with her, "I think I can. I think I can."

For more information on Jumpstart's Read for the Record visit