Tristar Reads made a special presentation Tuesday during the Portland Public Library’s “Reasons to Read” program.” Tallen Haag was awarded a $1,000 college scholarship for reading and logging the most hours reading from May 1 to Sept. 7 in the K-5th grade group in the annual contest. 

Three $1,000 scholarships were given in three age groups across the state which are grades  K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. According to Jessica Whitmill with Tristar, Haag read 471.4 hours this summer and was the most ever read in the program. When she arrived at the “Reasons to Read” program, she had no idea she was going to be recognized as the state winner of the kindergarten through fifth grade group.

Haag said, “I was surprised. I was nervous and excited at the same time.”

Winning reading awards is not new to her. In 2017, she was a winner in the First Lady’s statewide Summer Reading Competition. She was one of 100 children invited to a state dinner with Gov. Bill Haslam and Crissy Haslam.

Haag enjoys reading all genres of literature including mysteries, non-fiction, and chapter books. She said she would like to go to Belmont University and study piano and science. She is the daughter of Stacey Haag and Troy Haag.

During the program, the children were called to the front to enjoy hearing Rep. William Lamberth read “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. In addition several children were invited to share parts of their favorite books.

The program ended with the much anticipated “pie in the face” for Youth Services Director Linda Ackerman by one of the winners of the library’s summer reading program. This year 3-year-old Jacob Ramirez won the privilege of tossing a whipped cream pie in Ackerman’s face. 

Ackerman gave a brief talk about the value of reading in relationship to school success. 

“Research has shown that children who are most successful in school have been introduced to books prior to going to school,” she said, stressing the value of reading at least 20 minutes daily.