With schools getting ready to close up shop for the summertime, the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library is once again looking to fill the the literacy void with their Summer Reading Program.
“We do eight weeks of programs for ages 2-18,” Programmer Corrie Brown said. “We have different days for different age groups. For the younger groups we do stories and crafts; the older kids will do more games and activities.”
According to Brown, the library can be a great place to help keep young minds sharp over the long summer months, away from the regular schedule of school.
“It is a way to keep kids engaged with reading and coming to the library over the summer,” she said. “Kids can learn a lot of literacy skills over the summer. They have a big chunk of time where they aren’t in school and may not be stimulated in that way, so even if it is just for 45 minutes, once a week – it can give them consistency, so that they won’t struggle when they are back in school in the fall.”
Being able to provide consistent summer programming came out of community need, according to Brown.
“Part of it is a direct response to community input,” she said. “We used to run the program for six weeks at a time and we had some parents imply at that time that we were lacking in programs that we offered, when it was only six weeks. There was a big chunk of time when the kids weren’t doing anything at home and weren’t back in school yet. We found a way to extend the program to meet that need.”
This year, the library is looking to capitalize on the growing patriotism throughout the country.
“The theme this year is Canada 150, so we are really trying to build on that and engage the whole community,” Brown said.
Throughout the summer, kids will keep track of their own advancement through the program.
“Every week the kids have a reading log to keep track of their reading,” she said. “They get a sticker once a week, which can correspond to website that they can go on and play games. Every time they get a sticker, they are entered for a weekly prize draw. We do a draw for each of our age groups, as well as our reading only program – where kids do not have to come to the library as long as they are keeping track of what they are reading. Everyone entered throughout the summer is entered into the grand prize draw at the end of the program.”
The program looks to award the efforts of all its participants, not solely based on quantity of books read.
“For starters, we don’t require they read at the same level, or the same number of books,” she said. “We don’t put a limit on what the kids need to read to qualify for the prizes. We try to have as much adaptation in our program to meet the needs of each participant.”
The library is already taking in interested participants.
“Registration for the program is already open and our kickoff party will be on Saturday, June 24 from 1-2 p.m.,” Brown explained. “We do some games, a scavenger hut and the kids can pick up their packages for the program. It is lots of fun and we start the first week of July, once the kids are out of school.”