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Story Time in the Park taking on ‘summer brain drain’

Eileen Vidana, 9, far right, reads to her siblings Wednesday at Tower Park on the West Side after picking up grab-and-go lunches and books during Story Time in the Park. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Vangie Pacheco, a math and reading interventionist with the Albuquerque Public Schools, hands out grab-and-go lunches and books during Wednesday’s Story Time in the Park at Tower Park on the West Side. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Youngsters are enjoying Story Time in the Park events, designed to keep kids engaged and reading as a way to combat the so-called “summer brain drain.”

The annual six-week Title 1 program is sponsored by Albuquerque Public Schools and is geared toward elementary school children and their families.

In conjunction with Story Time in the Park events, the city and county also conduct a summer lunch program, providing children with free midday meals.

During a normal pre-COVID year, children and parents would go to a program location where teachers and staff would read to and with the children and pass out free books. The children would also get a free lunch.

This year, Story Time in the Park was held at 28 locations, mostly parks, but also some community centers and low-income housing communities.

Because of COVID, books and lunches were handed out via a grab-and-go drive-thru lane.

The free lunch portion of the program will continue through Aug. 6 at designated locations from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For a complete listing go to or, and search for “summer lunch program.”

Korey Davidson picks up a book at Tower Park during Story Time in the Park on Wednesday so he can take it home for his children to read with one another. With him is 2-year-old son Race Davidson. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

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