Words are jumping off of the pages of books and coming to life for youngsters in Cannon County this summer, and so are characters in those books.
The stories become real as captivated children hang on every word during programs provided during the Summer Reading Program at Adams Memorial Library and the Auburntown Branch Library. Led by Public Services Librarian Patti Chappell, the Summer Reading Program provides children with unlimited access to books during the summer months when school is out of session.
Youngsters receive prizes based on the number of books they read during the summer but parents are finding out that they do not have to push reading on their children. Instead, youngsters want to read.
“The Summer Reading Program is a great idea,” said Melissa Anderson, whose children have participated throughout the month-long program that runs through June. “I have not thought about how many books we have read this summer and we write down each one because the kids get prizes for how many books they read, and they love that. This program has made us want to come to the library together and check out books. It’s been great.”
Young people have made the library a frequent stop this summer but they always look forward to programs offered each Thursday, and Chappell has provided a star-studded lineup. Kevin Kidd led off the month, followed by the Positive Professor on June 10 and the talents of Becky Bowles and Micki Parsley were on display June 17. The program will climax with a Pool Party June 24.
Guests read books to the youngsters, who were also treated to puppet shows, words through music and many other interactive activities.
“It really helps them understand what reading is all about,” said Parsley, with the Highland Rim Regional Library. “It brings the books to life for them and makes them far more interesting. Over the years we have really seen the numbers grow as the children get more involved and realize reading is not just something boring you have to do at school. There is a lot of interesting things in books.”
In fact, characters from the books were on display throughout the month in the Cannon County Library System.
“This is very fun. It makes me want to read more,” Auburntown’s Dana Black said. “Books are fun.”
“I love to read and I love this program,” said Woodbury’s Ashlee Hill. “Reading helps me learn and these (programs) make it very interesting.”
Summer reading programs put books in the hands of children and youngsters without access to books may borrow them from the public libraries at no cost and continue reading throughout summer. Educators believe these programs also help prevent what is referred to as the “Summer Slide.”
“This helps the children get to know the library and how this can help them,” Chappell said. “They understand the resources available and so do their parents. Parents are 100 percent part of this.”
Parents seem to enjoy the programs and the summer interaction that reading provides almost as much as the youngsters.
“I have enjoyed everything about the program,” Magally Heisey said. “My girls love this and they love getting to be around more kids. They love the reading, the singing. It’s been good for them and me as well. My girls love to read. When I was a child I loved to read. I would rather stay inside and read than anything. I think they have that also because it is very fun and exciting for them to get to come to the library.”
The program also is teaching social standards and enabling children to socialize with others during important times of their development. Parents have also learned more imaginative ways to make reading fun for their children.
“I always try to read to my daughter but I never had the idea of a big drama with the puppets or becoming the characters,” said Auburntown’s Yazmin Prater. “This has been very good because I’m learning things and this is something fun we can do together. This program has also helped us become part of the community. I am from Costa Rica and I have been here three years and to be able to around the other children and make new friends has benefited us in ways beyond reading.”
By utilizing the benefits provided through summer reading programs children can boost their reading skills, and this also enables them to open doors to additional learning that can benefit them throughout their life, according to research conducted by New York Libraries.
The Cannon County Library System offers free reading programs throughout the year.See Summer Reading Program Photo Gallery