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Library gears up for ‘A Universe of Stories’ with long list of events

By JEN BOUTIN

BCPL

It’s that time of year again — the middle of May. Among school-aged kids, the anticipation in the air is palpable.

While younger students are enjoying end-of-year field trips and class parties, older students are facing final exams. Regardless of what stands between them and the final bell, almost all students (and adults) realize that the time to wind down is close at hand.

While summer offers students a break after working hard all year, it doesn’t mean they should turn off their brains completely. Reading for fun is an effective way to help students stay sharp. While not everyone loves to read, everyone can benefit from reading or being read to.

Summer is a great time to read with your kids again. This might seem like an easy task if your child is young and it is already part of your nightly routine, but what about older children?

If you’re worried they’re too old to enjoy being read to, fear not. Open up a copy of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” or any other favorite on a rainy afternoon and start reading aloud.

Older students probably won’t readily admit to it to their friends, but if you start reading a beloved classic from their younger years there is a good chance that even they will stop and sit for a spell. It’s a wonderful way to reconnect with them after a hectic school year, and it might inspire them to read for fun.

Many children truly enjoy reading and will do it on their own without much parental prodding. But if the child is a reluctant reader, simplest way to engage them is to “make reading fun.” The public library is a great place to look for inspiration, as it offers fun and educational programs and events all summer long. Plus, they give away prizes and free books for those who complete a reading log.

What’s here

At the Boyle County Public Library, the Summer Reading Program is an 8-week literacy program for all ages.  The primary purpose of the program is to encourage people to read. To keep track of the books read, participants can fill out a reading log to earn prizes and books. While librarians tend to believe that true treasure is found within the pages of a book, a little incentive never hurt.

This summer, the library will offer seven different book clubs for a variety of ages and interests, as well as numerous craft and science programs. Exciting entertainers, virtual field trips, a film series, a murder mystery and a writing workshop are also included in the list of special events.

“Summertime is the perfect time to provide fun, entertaining, playful ways to keep kids involved in books, reading, and learning,” says library director Georgia de Araujo. “Kids are primed to use their imaginations. Summer reading programs are primed to encourage that. Study after study shows that kids who are active readers over the summer are ahead of the game when school starts in the fall. Summer reading is learning by having fun — what an easy way to make a difference!”

Why it’s important

The “summer slide,” a loss of academic literacy that occurs over the summer break, is very much a reality. Studies show students can lose a month of literacy over the summer.

Children who participate in summer reading at the library not only keep their reading skills sharp, they can receive free books to keep at home. This is important because research also confirms that people who grow up with books at home tend to have higher reading comprehension, as well as better mathematical and digital communication skills.

Librarians begin planning for summer reading right after the last summer program ends. They attend workshops and meetings to discuss the theme for the summer and to get programming ideas from other librarians across the state.

More than books

Performers are booked well in advance to ensure a full slate of educational entertainment all summer long. This summer’s theme is  “A Universe of Stories.” This theme was chosen because this summer is the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

All ages can participate in summer reading. While much of the programming is geared toward school-age children and teens, the adult summer reading program also offers the reading log challenge to earn fun prizes of their own.

And it’s not all about reading. For example, the Liberty Nature Center will hit the parking lot of the library on July 16, because the eagle the center is bringing has a wingspan of six feet, and is too large for inside. The center will also be bringing owls, hawks, falcons,and vultures.

The Liberty Nature Center is a wildlife rehabilitation and education center located in West Somerset.

The Summer Reading Kick off will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 3, but you can join the program at any time from June 3 – July 31. All events are free and open to the public.