ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ALEEN RATZLAFF
Summer gives kids a break from schoolwork. But taking a break from reading can have a negative impact on learning.
“Sometimes kids forget over the summer time how to read, and they have to start over in fall,” said Delora Kauffman, children’s librarian at Hillsboro Public Library.
One way children can stay “warmed up” as readers during the summer months is to participate in a library reading program, said Maura Wiebe, fourth-grade teacher at Hillsboro Elementary School and a member of Hillsboro’s Library Board.
Area libraries are offering such programs for children of all ages to hone their reading skills during their summer break.
“The majority of kids I’ve seen are mostly pre-school, lower-grade kids,” Wiebe said. “It’d be great if we could try to get more of our older kids involved in that reading program. I think it would be a big help.”
Libraries in Hillsboro, Marion, Florence, Peabody and Goessel-like many in Kansas-are incorporating the theme “Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales” into their summer programs.
The animal theme is woven into the librarians’ choice of books, crafts and other activities for the summer. Hillsboro and Marion libraries are showing full-length G-rated movies about animals during the summer.
Kauffman said in March she attended a training workshop offered in Manhattan that introduced resources available to libraries that adapt the theme to their individual programs.
“I see reading programs as an alternative to sports being offered,” Kaufman said. “It’s a safe place for children to spend time.”
Children age 3 through fifth grade can sign up for the summer reading program at Hillsboro Public Library directed by Kauffman and Sherry Bosworth. Sessions begin June 28 and end Aug. 3.
Classes for 3- and 4-year-olds run from 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays or Thursdays.
First- and second-graders will meet from 1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and third- through fifth-graders from 2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
Participants will need to register because places are limited. A $3 fee will pay for crafts, snacks, games and other activities that accompany reading during the sessions.
“I want kids to feel that reading is a cool thing,” Kauffman said.
Readers in sixth grade and up can also participate in a program called “It’s a Zoo!” These readers set goals, most of between 1,000 pages and 5,000 pages, said librarian Cathy Fish.
Cost is $1, which helps pay for prizes awarded to readers who meet their goals. Prizes include snow cones, pizzas and movie rentals from local businesses.
Participants can still enroll in the program, which runs through July 31. For information on activities at the Hillsboro library, call 947-3827.
Marion City Library’s summer reading program “Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales” begins July 1 and runs through July 28 for children who have completed kindergarten through eighth grade.
“We want to get as many kids reading as possible,” said Janet Marler, librarian. She and her staff will be putting out new titles-50 new children’s books and 30 junior fiction books.
“We’ll push the animal books, especially,” Marler said.
Participants can win free ice cream cones, drinks, pizza, popsicles and other prizes. They may register at the library any time to participate.
A weekly story time for children ages 3 to 6 will be 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Fridays beginning July 7 through July 28.
Stories, crafts and games also will follow the animal theme. Arrangements also are being made to have live pets visit the children at the library.
Space is limited, Marler said, so parents need to call the library at 620-328-2442 and register their child.
A pet show is planned for 7 p.m. July 28 at the library for the community to conclude the summer reading program. Rolling Hills Zoo from Salina will present a program featuring animals and the story “The Great Kapok Tree.”
All children and adults who participated in the summer reading program can enter their pet in the pet show. Prizes will be given for pets that are the most talented, smallest, biggest, most unusual, cutest costume, most unusual name, oldest, longest ears, cutest and look most like its owner.
Contestants need to register their pet at the library ahead of the show. For rules and information, contact the Marion City Library at 620-382-2442.
Peabody library’s reading program is well under way for children ages kindergarten through sixth grade.
“We’ve had a good turnout this year-more than what we expected,” said librarian Mildred Buller, who estimates at least 22 children attend weekly, with some of the older ones assisting the younger children.
The program, directed by Rebecca Gillet, helps draw children to the library.
“They get to see what our library is all about and have a chance to interact with their friends,” Buller said. “We just have lots of fun.”
Tuesday story times have focused on the animal theme, coupled with special events and activities, including visits from a seeing-eye dog and drug dog to the library.
One Saturday activity was held in connection with the farmer’s market at Santa Fe Park.
“We had all kind of farm animals the kids could view,” Buller said, including an alpaca and miniature horses they could ride.
Upcoming events for children will be a show about dogs by Brother John of Great Bend July 4, as part of the Fourth of July celebration at Peabody, and a visit to Legacy Park July 5.
The final event will be July 11, when children will be awarded prizes for their summer reading accomplishments.
For information, call the Peabody Library at 620-983-2502.
“We’re using some of the posters and choosing books about animals,” said Gayle Scriven, librarian at Florence Public Library, about her approach to the animal theme.
Readers through sixth grade have customized personal reading goals for the summer.
“You read the books and write them down on a log sheet, and there will be prizes and certificates toward the end of summer,” Scriven said.
Children came into the library to set their individual reading goals. Time for readers to work on their goals extends until school starts, she said.
“It’s a personalized goal-that’s the best way to put it,” Scriven said. “They set their goal-there’s a minimum for each one-then they get a special award.”
Florence’s library also has offered a weekly story hour for ages 4 to 7 that meets at 11 a.m. Thursdays. The last session will be this week.
Time is spent reading books, doing crafts and playing games about animals, Scriven said.
For information, call the Florence library, 620-878-4649.
The summer reading program at Goessel Public Library is open pre-schoolers through young adults during June and July.
Winning prizes can be an incentive for readers through eighth grade who meet their reading goals. They can read any books they choose and simply keep track of the titles. Books read during June and July count toward the summer reading goals, and a drawing of prizes for all groups will be Aug. 4.
Story times are held Wednesdays through July 19 at 9 a.m. for preschoolers, 10 a.m. for kindergartners through second-graders and 11 a.m. for third- through fifth-graders.
This spring’s sixth-graders through 18-year-olds are participating in “Get Wild,” a program on Fridays that runs through July 21. They can plan their activities and choose prizes, and the summer schedule is flexible to accommodate schedules.
For more information, call the Goessel library at 620-367-8440.