Monday, July 6, 2015

Light Summer Reading

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2015 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge HILLARY HARVEY
  • Hillary Harvey

Summer is the season when it comes to your local library. That’s when they break out the summer reading programs where kids log their reading time, collecting prizes at various goals, and engage with the library community through parties and programming. And within the Mid-Hudson Public Library system, there are plenty of summer reading programs to choose from.

This year’s summer reading program theme, Every Hero Has a Story, was developed through the Collaborative Summer Library Program, which connects libraries across the country through pooled resources and shared program materials. “There’s diversity in terms of what libraries can do with the theme, and some libraries even choose different themes,” says Emily Chameides, Director of the Hudson Area Library. “We use it because it’s a great resource. It comes with a curriculum kit and reproducibles.” At the Hudson Area Library, it takes shape as a daily program which runs Tuesday-Friday from 10a-12p. There’s sharing stories, craft projects, special guest presentations, as well as the call to children to track their reading over the summer. It culminates in an ice cream party in August.

All the libraries involved offer weekly special events: musical performances, science programs, magic shows, animal encounters, movie nights, and puppet shows. Kids can read to therapy dogs, join a club, or meet local celebs, like during the Woodstock Library’s Uncle Rock show. At the Kingston Library, there’s a party every week, often featuring local authors, storytellers, and illustrators. Meet policemen, firemen, and Red Cross volunteers, and take a Junior Engineering workshop at the Claverack Library.

Sometimes acknowledgement helps children achieve the long-term goal of regular summer reading. So following the program at the Howland Public Library, participants’ names are sent to their school for recognition in September. (Techie kids will love the whole process because their summer reading program features an interactive hero game and online reading log.) For most of Ulster County, plus Rhinebeck and Red Hook, kids who complete a program of daily reading and exercise can meet Assemblyman Kevin Cahill at an awards ceremony in Kingston in October. Cahill is a longtime supporter of the Summer Reading Program, and this year chose to add an exercise component to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Grab a Summer Reading and Exercise Challenge form at the library, and e-mail or call the District Office at (845) 338-9610 for more info.

For Chameides, there are many values to the summer reading programs, most especially how they keep children’s minds alive during the summer. “Studies show that when kids go back to school, they’ve often fallen behind because they haven’t been practicing. We can avoid that gap in literacy learning,” she says. “Plus, reading is fun, and learning is fun. We want to encourage kids to have a love of learning and reading.”

Public Library Summer Reading Programs: June-August, programming every week, all over the Hudson Valley. If you missed your local library’s summer reading kickoff party (most happened in June), it’s not too late to sign up. You’ll still get a reading log, incentive prizes, and a calendar of events, and you’ll find out about workshops that your library is offering this summer. Check out the kick-off parties happening tonight (July 6th) at the Town of Esopus and the Town of Ulster public libraries. And look for your library’s End of Summer Reading party in August!

Need a place to start? Check out these new titles:
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss (seven rarely seen stories by Dr. Seuss, originally published in magazines between 1948 and 1959)
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown (a little boy transforms a dark, gray city into a lush, green world by befriending a struggling garden)
That’s My Moose by Oliver Jeffers (a little boy adopts a moose and makes him a pet who abides by the rules)
Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay (a little girl inspires her entire town to lure butterflies)
Me All Alone at the End of the World by M.T. Anderson (a boy lives a simple life until someone comes along and markets it)
The Family Tree series by Ann M. Martin (four books about one family through the eyes of four generations of its daughters)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (great for older kids because it includes tragedy, mystery, eccentricity, and an odd collection of photographs)

Don’t forget to pick something up for yourself! The best way to teach kids a love of reading is to model it. And read together! Experts say that reading aloud to children of any age encourages strong literacy skills, and it promotes snuggling.

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