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Spring 99 Table of Contents
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By Carmen Keltner, Public Awareness Coordinator, Talking Book Program

Up with the curtain! Lights the lights! The annual Texas Reading Club will explore the magical world of theatrical productions with its 1999 theme, "Open a Book, on with the Show!" Texas children, from toddlers to teens, are encouraged to read books about all aspects of theatre in the annual reading program sponsored by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and your local public library.

"This year's Texas Reading Club offers young readers all over the state the chance to learn about the exciting world of theatrical productions," said Jenifer O. Flaxbart, director of the Talking Book Program. "The Talking Book Program is here to support young readers with disabilities in getting involved with local libraries and other kids, to make this a summer of reading fun."

The Texas Reading Club helps young readers maintain their reading level over the summer break from school and encourages students to read as an important and fun summer activity. Local public libraries all over Texas will sponsor activities such as contests, story hours, demonstrations, and puppet shows centered around the theatrical theme. Participating readers set goals and keep logs of the number of books they read, or how many hours or minutes they read.

Young readers with visual disabilities can participate in their local public library's Summer Reading activities, borrowing the books they choose to read in cassette, Braille and large-print formats from TSLAC's Talking Book Program. Contact a children's librarian at the local public library to enroll your student in the Texas Reading Club and ask for a reading log. Let the librarian know about any accommodations your young reader may need to participate in activities at the library, and explain that your child will be provided with books in alternative media in order to participate.

If your young reader is already using the Talking Book Program, you can begin making plans to borrow books. Usually, libraries participating in the Texas Reading Club will count any books (they don't have to be library books) on any topic as entries in your young reader's Reading Club log. The Talking Book Program's Reader Consultants can help kids find Talking Books or books in other formats to read as part of their Texas Reading Club activities.

Young readers not currently set up with Talking Books may obtain an application form from teachers or local librarians. (Librarians and teachers may certify applications for Texans with visual and physical disabilities; a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy must sign applications for people with learning disabilities.) Or you can contact the Talking Book Program directly to request an application form by calling (800) 252-9605 or by sending an e-mail to .  

For further information about the Talking Book Program and the Texas Reading Club, please contact a Reader Consultant at (800) 252-9605 (toll-free from anywhere in Texas) or (512) 463-5458; or send an e-mail to . (The phone lines are often busy, so be sure to leave a message if you call after business hours or on weekends.)