School may be on break for the summer, but that doesn't mean kids should automatically put away the books. The Alpena County Library staff believes quite the opposite is true.
Just as it has in years past, the library is encouraging youngsters to keep reading and to have plenty of fun in the process with its annual Summer Book Club. The club kicks off next week and is wrapped around a theme of "Dream Big Read."
News photo by Diane Speer
Alpena County Library staff members Linda LaCross, left, and Mary Clute put the finishing paint touches on a “dream” bed they are creating as a centerpiece for this year’s Summer Book Club. As children’s librarian, Clute has been busy planning crafts and special activities for the book club that begins June 19.
"We've got a great selection of activities coming up that I think kids will have a great deal of fun with," said Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank. "Summer Book Club is one of the most important things we do at the library."
Reading over the summer, he said, goes a long way toward ensuring that reading skills learned during the school year don't regress.
"Reading research shows pretty convincingly that if kids don't read over the summer, they can fall back as much as one full grade level," Magness-Eubank said. "It doesn't take that much reading to keep up with their skills, and if they take part in the Summer Book Club, they can actually improve their reading skills."
The official kick-off day is June 19 and includes a $1 hot dog lunch served on site from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., rain or shine. The club is open to children ages 3-12 years, although anyone older who wants to join is also welcome.
Over the course of a month, participants read and report on at least 15 books. Reports can take a variety of forms: written, oral or even art projects such as a bookmark or picture.
By reading 15 books, youngsters will get a full packet of tickets to the library's Summer Carnival planned for July 18 at the Alpena County Fairgrounds. This also includes free popcorn and drink, plus the chance at a number of drawings that include two bicycles. Only book club members are eligible for the drawings. If they do not complete 15 books, they will still receive a portion of the tickets.
In anticipation of the start of the club, Children's Librarian Mary Clute, along with other staff members and volunteers, has been busy putting together materials and planning special events related to the "Dream Big Read" theme. She estimates 1,500 craft kits have been prepared just for week-one of the club.
"We have lots of things planned this year," Clute said. "The reason we do all of this is to keep kids reading all summer, and of course, the big payoff is the carnival at the end. Hopefully when they go back to school in the fall they will have maintained their reading level or made it better."
Clute said among the fun activities planned are a pajama party that will include a craft, a story and a yoga session on how to relax after having a bad dream. Registration is required for the event.
Dream-related crafts will be plentiful and feature a dream journal, dream catcher, shooting star, sit upons, lightening bugs and more.
Puppeteer Nancy Penvose and magician Gordon Russ, popular with young participants during summers past, will be returning for special programs.
A two-hour event at the Bsser Museum also is planned in conjunction with the club. Children are invited to the museum from 10 a.m.-noon July 5 to enjoy a planetarium show, crafts and treats revolving around the chosen theme.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Clute at 356-6188.