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Read a book, get a Slurpee: Provo 7-Eleven offers tasty incentive to kids

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PROVO — Gasoline, Slurpees and children's books — a 7-Eleven in Provo is helping champion literacy in Utah County.

Kids from all over the neighborhood know where they can always find a good book, and in this case, it's not the library.

"You can get smarter and better at reading," said reader Gavin Kilpatrick.

The books at the 7-Eleven at 300 S. Freedom Boulevard aren't for sale, but the kids who borrow and read them are given a sweet reward.

"When you take that book home and read it, you can bring it back to me and we can give you a free balloon or a free Slurpee," said store owner Todd Hansen.

To see the children's faces when they come in, how excited they are... I am so happy that I am able to be a part of his excitement of reading.

–Todd Hansen, 7-Eleven franchise owner

Hansen says giving away free Slurpees will ultimately benefit children who may not have easy access to books.

"I've always been interested in being involved in the community as much as I can," he said. "It's kind of a unique situation. People come in for different things, but here we have books and we can reach thousands of people."

The read a book, earn a Slurpee program has only been going on for a couple of weeks, but word is spreading fast.

"The 7-Eleven is closer than the library," said customer Sherry Murray. "We come here and get a couple of books and read them with the girls.

Parents like Murray still take their kids to the library, but are now coming to the store once a week.

"It's good for them to take it back to a different grown up and re-tell the story," she said. "Then they earn a Slurpee or a balloon and they love it. They really look forward to it."

For Hansen, it's a simple solution he believes will improve literacy in his neighborhood.

"To see the children's faces when they come in, how excited they are — I have one little boy who comes in maybe two to three days a week just absolutely giddy," he said. "I am so happy that I am able to be a part of his excitement of reading."

He's hoping kids decide that reading a book is even sweeter than drinking a Slurpee.


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Sam Penrod


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