PLEASANT HOPE, Mo. – Twelve-year-old ReAnna Owens reads constantly. “I read everything—even cereal boxes,” she says.
Reading cereal boxes helped her share her passion for reading with students in southwestern Missouri’s Polk County. For her 4-H reading project, she collected codes from specially marked packages of Kellogg’s cereals and redeemed them to earn free books for preschool students through the company’s Family Rewards program.
Velynda Cameron, 4-H youth development specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, said the sixth-grader took her self-determined reading project seriously. Participants in self-determined 4-H projects work with youth specialists to set goals.
ReAnna met authors at bookstores in nearby Springfield, Missouri, and interviewed one of the authors as part of her project work. She participated in Polk County’s summer reading program, devouring fantasy adventure series like the Ranger’s Apprentice and Percy Jackson. When not reading, she plays video games and listens to music.
ReAnna worked with the preschool teacher at Pleasant Hope Elementary School so she could read to preschool students. “I wanted to share my love of reading with others,” she said.
She hopes to expand her efforts this year by collecting books for children of domestic abuse victims in shelters.
The oldest child of Ron and Rachel Owens, ReAnna is a straight-A student and president of Rock Prairie 4-H Club. She has been involved in 4-H for seven of her 12 years. She hopes to be a writer someday.
“Reading—it’s pretty much all I do,” she says. “It’s happiness.”
For more information about the Kellogg’s Family Rewards reading program, go to kelloggsfamilyrewards.com/en_US/promotions/freebook/how.html.
For more information about Missouri 4-H, go to 4h.missouri.edu.