Special storytime events held at Bismarck’s Community Orchard throughout July

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Bismarck Parks and Recreation will be hosting a new series of literacy events for kids throughout July.

We stopped by the community orchard to get us all on the same page.

Families are coming to the Bismarck Community Orchard for a special story time event. We spoke to someone many kids know as Miss Sparkles to find out more.

Jana Maher has been reading stories to kids for more than 12 years. She says there’s nothing quite like it.

“I believe very strongly in the stories and books and it really comes together with affection. And sitting on laps and actually turning the actual physical page,” said Jana Maher, or Miss Sparkles.

She says keeping kids engaged is important year-round.

“Especially in the summer, there’s always a little bit of a summer slide. I just really want boys and girls to know that it’s 20 minutes a day is a wonderful thing,” said Maher.

And reading isn’t the only thing she does.

“I always do a little drum rumble and I always say here we go…and then…[singing] Good morning, how are you? Good morning. How do you do? I’m fine. Hope you are too. Good morning. How are you?” said Maher.

Jill Mantz has been bringing her kids to see Miss Sparkles for years.

“I love bringing my kids out to hear speakers or readers, reading books to children. Besides just myself, I think it’s important that they hear others read, and enjoy reading. Get them to love reading early on, so that they continue to love it through life,” Mantz.

Claire Lowstuter says everyone can learn from the event, not just kids.

“Miss Sparkles sharing the story, getting kids excited about about reading. Obviously, that is such a great thing she does in our community. And to have people come out here and learn about the orchard. There’s some fruits here that people have maybe never heard of. Or they haven’t heard of in a long time. Maybe their grandparents had some,” said Lowstuter, the local foods coordinator for Bismarck Parks and Rec.

Sunshine, smiles and a lot of stories.

Bismarck Parks and Rec will be putting on a few more events like this throughout the summer, and everyone is welcome to come. They’re hoping to get more people out in the community and in touch with nature.

They also plan to bring Miss Sparkles back to the orchard again next year. For more information, click here.

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