Wyoming Reads 2024

May 28, 2024

Laramie County Executive Director and County Librarian, Antonio Gaona, reads Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio to a class of excited first-graders in Cheyenne on May 21, 2024.

First-graders across Wyoming gathered at their nearest county library branch on Tuesday, May 21 to celebrate a very special day in our state–Wyoming Reads Day.

How did this all begin? Here’s a little history: The Sue Jorgensen Literary Foundation was established by the Jorgensen family after their wife and mother, Sue, tragically passed away in an automobile accident. With a goal of promoting literacy in Sue Jorgensen’s honor, the SJLF began with a generous donation to the library at the Jorgensen children’s school. It soon grew into a citywide literacy event in Casper, WY, beginning in 1999, through which each first-grader received a new, hardcover book of their very own to take home, read, enjoy with their families, and keep. By 2006, Wyoming Reads became a statewide celebration for all Wyoming first-graders. Live events have been held annually at Wyoming libraries, with the exception of 2020, in which the celebration was held virtually due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Since the program’s inception, hundreds of thousands of Wyoming first-graders have chosen and received their Wyoming Reads books during the May events.

The excitement was palpable as the students filed in behind their teachers, found their class’ assigned area, and met their guest reader. Judy Norris, volunteer reader and a former LCLS library employee, and Savannah Parris, the WSL’s Collections Specialist hosted a read aloud session with two different classes of Cheyenne first-graders sharing Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins and There’s an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer.

“A common topic yesterday was how children’s books and reading increase vocabulary. While we were reading Mother Bruce, one of the kids in our second group stated that the goslings had “imprinted” themselves on the bear,” said Savannah. “That’s a word I don’t think I knew until the third grade at the earliest.”

Volunteer readers had the opportunity to share some of their favorites.

Several other WSL staff members along with the Laramie County Library staff and many community volunteers helped the event run smoothly and ensure all the participants had an enjoyable and memorable time. Jessica Otto, the WSL’s Research and Statistics Consultant assisted with greeting the teachers and students, making sure they got to their stations, and getting the right books to the right classes. Vince Crolla, the WSL’s Legislative Specialist, assisted a volunteer reader while Brian Greene, the WSL’s Library Development Manager, and Letitia Bulic, the WSL’s Youth Services Consultant, hosted two other groups of children and shared a portion of a Hank the Cowdog mystery. Christi Weinzierl, the WSL’s Communications and Grants Specialist, shared several of her favorites with her assigned classes, including Imogene’s Antlers by David Small, Froggy Eats Out by Jonathan London, and The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen.

“I enjoyed getting to share some of the books I used to read to my younger siblings, my own kids, and my past students,” said Christi, a former educator. “It was also fun to see former colleagues, get to read to the child of a former student, and attend my very first ever Wyoming Reads event! This is such an amazing program. My two sons had such great experiences when they were first-graders and it was awesome to get to experience it for myself!”

During this year’s various events, the children watched a play about “Good Queen Sue” honoring Sue Jorgensen and her love of literacy. They also listened to read-alouds by volunteers including librarians and other professionals from the community. At the end of the event, each student received a bag of goodies, including the book they chose from this year’s list.

This year, the children had their choice of ten different titles, including:

    • A is for Axolotl by Catherine Macorol
    • Chester Van Chime Who Forgot How to Rhyme by Avery Monsen
    • Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion by Stephen W Martin
    • Love Rules: A Family’s True Story of Adoption & Unconditional Love by Andrea Melvin, Dave Eaton, & Michael Clark, Jr
    • Pizza: A Slice of History by Greg Pizzoli
    • Rick the Rock of Room 214 by Julie Falatko
    • The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett
    • Viking Strong by Doug Cenko
    • We Are Going to Be Pals! by Mark Teague
    • We Don’t Lose Our Class Goldfish by Ryan T Higgins
Wyoming Reads 2024

Students chose from a list of ten titles.


If the smiles on the faces of the student leaving the library were sufficient evidence, Wyoming Reads 2024 was a great success!



If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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