By Mindy Ragan Wood
The Mabel C. Fry Library is filling up for the summer reading program as readers ready themselves to explore the world around them through music, science and books.
Children’s Programming Director Stephanie Askeland said summer reading keeps children from falling behind before the school year begins, and it’s fun.
“Reading is one of the biggest indicators of school success and it’s important children have access to reading especially with the long summers we have in this country. It doesn’t matter which school you go to, how prepared you’ll be for next year depends on how much you read during the summer. Not math exercises, which is surprising,” Askeland said. “Even in depressed areas where there is a lot of poverty, if kids have the opportunity to read as much as the wealthy kids who go to educational camps, they will do just as well.”
The library offers more than just reading and special educational programs for children. Parents have found friendship with each other as week after week they bring their children together.
“For the baby story time, there was a whole group of new moms and they met during the spring story time. They started talking, doing swim lessons together and now they’re a regular group that hangs out after story time. There are plenty of parents who just use the time to meet each other,” Askeland said.
The summer reading program is likely to be as busy as the year before. Askeland and fellow summer program directors visited schools in May to promote the Libraries Rock programming and reading contests.
At least 240 children signed up for the early childhood literacy program, 680 elementary students and 192 middle schoolers have signed on.
This year the programs have a strong music theme but the Libraries Rock activities will include geology and other science, technology, engineering and math concepts.
For the early literacy program, preschoolers enjoy a musician every Monday morning during story time.
“The musician comes in and demonstrates how the instrument works. For the elementary kids we had an acapella group who not only presented how they perform, but how the different voice types work and how to find out if you’re an alto or a tenor. They had the kids sing with them and practice that,” Askeland said.
A few favorites are scheduled to return for the summer events including Extreme Animals, which brought zoo animals to the library last week. The Science Museum returned this week with a presentation on the sounds found in science. The Mad Scientist will return July 10.
Geologist Devine Dennie will give a hands-on presentation about geology July 17 and a magician, Steve Crawford, will bring music, magic and comedy to children July 24.
Teens will build their own musical instruments, spar off in lip synch battle, and solve a Rock ‘n Roll murder mystery in addition to other programs.