A ‘jolly’ good read

Boys & Girls Clubs offer Jolly Rancher candies for every chapter a student reads as part of its literacy program


VISALIA – Literacy can be a difficult skill to instill in children. For many youth, reading is boring and unstimulating, which makes it difficult to concentrate. That’s why the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias is coming up with creative ways to encourage club members to read.

Clubs in Tulare and Visalia have begun a Jolly Rancher Reading Club. The idea is that those in the reading club earn a Jolly Rancher hard candy for every chapter that they have read. The members are to drop the candy into a tumbler with their name on it to save for a later time. During the school year, reading is done during the Power Hour, one hour after school that is set aside for homework each day of the week.

The candies are just one of the many ways Boys & Girls Clubs are trying to keep kids reading year round.


During the summer, Exeter, Farmersville, and Ivanhoe Clubs coordinate with their local libraries to instill good reading habits within their Clubs. Exeter, Farmersville, and Ivanhoe Clubs coordinate with their local library’s schedule of programs and activities every summer. These libraries help Club members set individual reading goals, track their reading progress throughout the summer, and advance their reading by offering fun prizes and incentives. For example, at the Ivanhoe Club, members were rewarded at the end of the summer reading program with an ice cream social!

The libraries also host a variety of guest performers—such as Tim the Magician and Reptile Ron—in the summertime to encourage the community to spend more time at their local library. Additionally, the libraries offer new and exciting activities such as a stem program and a Lego Robotics program that Club members enjoy very much.

For example, Farmersville Boys & Girls Club is fortunate to have the Tulare County Farmersville Branch Library right next door. Every week, they receive a schedule of their library’s performances and activities so that their Club members may attend the events.

“This year Veronica Casanova from Tulare County Libraries has helped the Boys & Girls Clubs (BGC) by bringing entertainment for the members and staff,” Farmersville Site Director Christian Cervantes said. “This year, she brought to the BGC a juggling performance that was well-received by all our members and staff. It was a great pop-up activity that had all the members engaged and attentive.”

Exeter, Farmersville, and Ivanhoe Club members love spending time at their local library—they enjoy the large variety of books, the special performances, and the prizes they earn for reading. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias is thankful for the support they have received from their local libraries over the years.

During this school year, Ivanhoe members will visit the library every Friday. Exeter Club will be running a book club and will collaborate with the Exeter library every Thursday until December. If parents or community members are interested in helping to encourage young people to read, they are welcome to help by either becoming a volunteer at these libraries or a BGC volunteer by visiting www.bgcsequoias.org/volunteer.

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