There are some changes in the St. Marys Public Library’s Summer Reading program this year. And, although one of those changes is the fact that the leadership role is now being filled by just one summer student as opposed to the two who have shared duties in the past, Library Program Team Leader Merley Wheaton says that doesn’t mean it’s being pared down.
The Library “is interested in helping children to read and to enjoy reading. With that interest in mind, library staff have designed a fantastic set of summer activities, programs and events to keep children reading this summer,” Wheaton explained.
He added there’s a definite attempt to focus on maintaining literacy through July and August.
“The goal is really keeping children reading during the summer,” he commented. “There’s lots of research out there to show that kids can lose a significant amount of their literacy skills over the holidays, and we’d like to play a role in preventing that from happening.”
At the core of the summer programming is the TD Summer Reading Club for children 4–12 years old. The TD Summer Reading Club is a free program of Canadian public libraries that strives to engage all children in the joy of reading during the summer months. Participants receive a passport and booklet when they register, which they can use to record their summer reading. When they report their reading to library staff, they will earn stickers, prizes and more.
New this year is the opportunity for students to get one-on-one reading help. Thirty-minute reading help sessions are available throughout the week.
“We’re working on a much more open-ended registration,” Wheaton explained, adding registration is now open for the summer programming, which actually runs between July 2 and Aug. 23.
Instead of in past years, when participants would sign up week by week for programs tackling different themes each week, they can now sign up by the day. The supervised programming will generally take place during the afternoons; other parts of the day may be less formal, and feature more of a “reading club” feel, “and we’ll provide incentives for the kids to read.”
The Library is also hoping to be able to deliver some of the program at other locations in the community.
“We have been in contact with a few places about bringing the reading club to areas of St. Marys that might not have as much access to the library,” Wheaton said. “As yet, nothing has been confirmed but our hope is to make it as easy as possible for children and their families to participate in the club, borrow books and get reading help if they would like it.”
Afternoons at the library should be very exciting with Kids R.O.C.K (Kids on a Creative Kick) clubs, craft programs and a Story Makers program for those who want to write their own stories. These programs happen from 1-2:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and cost $2 each. Parents can purchase a card for $20 that gives them 10 sessions plus one free session. Children will enjoy meeting special guests and participating in some fun, creative activities.
There are several special events planned, including a return of the Star Gazing Night on Friday, June 28 at Wildwood Conservation Area, a concert with performer Erick Traplin on July 5, and what promises to be an exciting season finale presentation by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy on Aug. 22.