The Cassville Branch Library attracted 110 children and 14 teenagers to its summer reading program this year. Over 700 individuals attended summer reading programs held at the library in June and July.
"We think this year's summer reading program was one of the best," said Kelli Getman, Cassville children's coordinator. "The input we have received from the parents and teachers is that this year's theme was very educational as well as entertaining. 'The best that they can remember' is what we keep hearing."
The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library's summer reading program is open to readers who range from preschool age to young adults. Cassville summer reading participants were asked to sign a reading goal contract that indicated the number of pages they planned to read during the two-month period.
"All together we read 96,476 pages," said Getman. "Our goal was 15,000, so we will definitely be raising our goal for next summer."
In addition to offering prizes to children who complete summer reading goals, the reading program helps children exercise their reading skills throughout the summer months when not in school.
"Kids are encouraged to read through the summer for fun," said Jean Berg, library district director. "The library branches plan special programs to keep the kids coming to the library and reading all summer long."
The 2008 summer reading program, "Catch the Reading Bug," included fun programs such as "Bugs as Pets," "Creepy Crawlies" and "Buggy Facts."
"This year's theme was my favorite so far," said Getman. "Missouri is so buggy to begin with that it was very easy to plan. All we have to do is step out on our front porch at the library to find bugs all over.
"Children are very curious about insects, especially boys," said Getman. "They loved the bug programs and learning about Missouri bugs as well as bugs all over the world. They especially liked the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. I'd have to say that I think this theme was the one that got the boys into the library the most."
Summer reading programs also featured speakers from the Discovery Center and Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield.
"I hope the children took away a renewed love of reading for fun from this year's program," said Getman. "Obviously, the kids we get don't have to be there. They didn't have to read so much to receive a prize. I don't think there was any pressure on them, and so they enjoyed it even more."