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Summer Reading Program kicks off with a bang

June 19, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The East Lee County Regional Library buzzed with energy as the Summer Reading Program, "A Universe of Stories" kicked off last week with a packed program for the youth.

East County Regional Library Senior Librarian Head of Youth Services Angela Hall said the first program, "Super Science," attracted 150 kindergarten through fifth grade students with more on the waiting list.

"If you are not in that 15-minute window you may loose your spot because we are at a waiting list," Hall said of the program that maxed out at capacity. "Every kid had something good to say. The energy was very high in that room," she said, adding that there were children of all ages, moms and dads, babies and baby strollers filling the space of the library. "Summer reading was happening."

The Summer Reading also started with "Universe of Trivia" for teens, which centered around space and planets. Hall said although they did not have as many teens participating, each program will get a little bit better as the summer progresses.

"They are just being teenagers," she said.

Family Storytime, which was held last Wednesday, attracted 67 children, from birth to 5 years old.

"We are obviously doing something right," Hall said.

The Summer Reading Program runs through Aug. 10 with a plethora of activities for everyone to enjoy. Hall said new this year is parents registering their kindergarten through fifth grade student online for the programs.

Hall believes the Summer Reading Program Kickoff, which was held May 29, was an event that increased their summer reading program enrollment.

"I feel like that really helped kick start our program this year," she said. "The kickoff helped, as well as us going out into the schools before the school year ended. We were able to touch more of those communities that are not immediately beside the library."

As of June 10, they had approximately 700 kids registered for the Summer Reading Program. One of the incentives this year for youth was created with Dairy Queen, the Frequent Reader Program. The kids receive a stamp every time they share what book they have read with Hall, which earns them a treat at Dairy Queen.

The sharing includes the reader sharing the title of the book, and a summary of what the book was about, often times including the characters in the story.

Another incentive is a drawing held every Monday for passes to Sky Zone.

Every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon a program is held for kindergarten through fifth grade students and from 1 to 2:30 p.m. for teens. In addition there is a Family Storytime held from 10 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday.

There is also a STEAM Storytime from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 22, for those who are in kindergarten through fifth grade. Hall said this storytime is a little more challenging, due to the focus stemming around science, technology, engineering, art and math.

"Joey and Alex Magic" will be held Tuesday, June 25, for kindergarten through fifth graders. The attendees will be taken on an action-packed adventure with magic, comedy, puppets and balloon artistry.

"We are encouraging independent attendance. Mom and dad have to let go of their hands and let them attend on their own," Hall said.

Later that day, "Galaxy Art" will be held for those entering grades sixth through 12th grade. She said they are presenting the tweens with a little index card canvas to create a galaxy to allow some creative juices to flow.

"We find that we have to be just as creative as they are and recycle what we already have. How can we use this again, and what can we use this for," Hall said. "We are mindful of the environment."

From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 29 an extraterrestrial teen movie will be presented. The movie has not yet been announced.

There are also different passive programs set on the tables every week for the youth to participate in while visiting the library.

"Each week is a different passive program for them to partake in," she explained.

The Summer Reading Program has a large emphasis on the kindergarten through fifth grade students because their attendance is the highest, and they are still seeking what their likes are when in comes to books.

Hall said parents are able to bring them to the library, whereas teens are making their own decisions.

"Summer Reading programs are designed for everybody. Zero to an adult can participate in summer reading," she said.

Hall said they are sharing information on how parents can include their baby in the Summer Reading Program by incorporating literacy through rhythms, songs, or movement.

"We are showing them how to keep and get their kids interested in reading," she said.

Every child who visits the library receives a free book through the Summer Reading Program, which Hall said is a huge deal.

"That is a special deal to own your own book. That is a really huge deal for a child to own his, or her, own book," she said.

In addition to offering programs at the library, East Lee County Regional Library is reaching out into the community by doing storytimes at daycares, as well as programs at Veterans Park Recreation Center. Hall said they are also doing programs every two weeks during summer camp at Veterans Park Academy of the Arts.

"It's not too late to register for summer reading. We will take registration up to the last week," she said at "They need to come to the library to get their packet of goodies. They can do that at any library location."



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