big al at reading program

Alabama's mascot Big Al visited the United Way reading program Wednesday and brought children pompoms.

Auburn University and the University of Alabama put aside their differences Wednesday at the Lake Martin Area United Way’s summer reading kickoff at Stephens Elementary School. 

Auburn representatives Dewayne Riddle and Christina Steele performed science tricks with the help of Big Al. The performers turned water into different colors, did demonstrations with dry ice and put Mentos in Coke.

“We were fortunate enough to have the Lake Martin Alabama Club get (Big Al) here for us,” program director Jeri-Lynn Martin said.

Each week the children are given the opportunity to choose books from our mobile book boxes to take home, keep and read each week. On Wednesday, children will be treated to Abrakadoodle Art and Canvas Painting just in time for Father’s Day. Abrakadoodle is an educational art program based in Montgomery that will be here to teach the children about art and encourage their imaginations.

Yarbrough Reptile Show will be at the reading program June 19 and The Story Ship — an interactive, animated live adventure show — will wrap things up June 26.

Martin said the top three readers will be recognized at the end of the month and while 275 children are currently participating Lake Martin Area United Way director Sharon Fuller said the program is still accepting children for June.

“It’s a wonderful program for the children, have it 100% free and sponsored, and we encourage children to read during the summer months,” Fuller said.

The program is run through the local United Way, Alexander City Schools and Pediatric Associates of Alexander City.

“This program is important for the community because it’s free first and foremost but it’s promoting reading literacy which is something we know the children need and in the summertime,” Martin said. “Not only are they getting to have fun and have somewhere to go that’s close to home but it’s also educational.”