Avoiding the summer slump
120 children participate in the summer reading club
Summer is a time for playing in the sun and water, but it is important to remind children there is fun in reading too.
Verna Fry, youth services director at the Cassville Branch Library, said the summer reading club is something the library does every year.
“It is a nationwide program, and it started in 1987,” she said. “We have been doing this for 32 years, and each summer, there is a different theme.”
Fry said the theme is chosen for them.
“We are told what it will be, and it is the same for each age group,” she said. “They select the theme and make all the materials and artwork way ahead of time.”
Fry said she saw on their website that they already have the theme for the next few years chosen.
“We get a manual, but a couple years ago it was a big binder of suggested activities, and it is up to each individual library how to plan the program,” she said. “We also get the option to come up with our own activities.”
Fry said her manual covers preschool, toddlers, children and teenagers.
“I do preschool storytime in June, and I took a lot of the ideas from the suggestions in the manual,” she said. “But, it is nice to have the ability to get creative with our own ideas if we want to.”
Fry said the number of people registered for the summer reading club holds steady.
“This year, I had 120 registered, which included toddlers to teens,” she said. “I don’t know the exact number of adults registered, but there are adult programs in the summer reading club as well.”
Fry said for adults, it is the standard program that is already in place like the painting class.
“We just make sure that the theme stays the same,” she said. “So they painted a lot of space themed things to go along with It’s A Universe Of Stories, like renditions of Starry Night by Van Gogh.”
Fry said the reason they chose the It’s A Universe Of Stories this year was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
“There is no charge for the children to attend the programs,” she said. “We do have a $5 fee at registration for the adult painting classes, but that is only to help cover the material costs.”
Fry said the library tries to not charge children to be in the program, and the help of Friends of the Library and other generous donations make that possible.
“We hope that children get to see presenters and participate in programs that they wouldn’t normally get a chance to,” she said. “It is important to have programs like this to help inspire children to read and learn about things.”
Fry said the presenters throughout the summer make it a point to tell the children that reading isn’t just about homework and school, but it is fun for them.
“For example, the magician that presented for the children told them that he learned about magic tricks by going to the library and reading a book,” she said. “Instead of just telling a child to go read a book, they really inspired them to think outside the box and enjoy reading.”
Fry said one of the main reasons to have the summer reading club is to inspire children to read and not to have that summer slump.
“When children are out of school, they need to continue to read so they don’t fall behind, and so they are even more prepared for the next school year,” she said.
Fry said presenters for the summer reading club children program included a magician, ventriloquist, animals from Dickerson Park Zoo, a play, comedians and a juggler.
“A big hit this year has been the outdoor movie nights at Roaring River,” she said. “It was so popular that we have been asked to do another one in August that we haven’t previously scheduled.”
Fry said it is the 80th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz.
“We will show that and have activities for the children to do,” she said. “We have had great feedback from children and parents about the program.”
Fry said people really enjoy it and they always say they will come back next year.