MARQUETTE - A summer program hosted by the libraries throughout the region is aiming to keep area students with their noses in books, at least for part of their summer vacation.
"Dig Into Reading" is the theme for summer reading programs at local libraries, according to Peter White Public Library Youth Services Director Cathy Seblonka.
The program is simple on its face - keep kids reading so they don't lose skills they've learned in the past year.
Peter White Public Library Assistant Carolyn McManis reads to a group of kids gathered in the Community Room in the library. Kids participating in the “Dig Into Reading” summer reading program can earn credit for attending this and other library events scheduled throughout the summer. (Journal photos by Jackie Stark)
Below, a bicycle, donated in part by Down Wind Sports of Marquette, hangs in the children’s area of the library. The bike is the grand prize for the library’s summer reading program. (Journal photos by Jackie Stark)
"There's a purpose for the reading program, it's not just for fun," she said.
But plenty of fun activities have been scheduled to keep kids interested in reading during their three-month vacation from school. The program runs from June 10 through Aug. 2.
"We have tons of programs all summer long to get kids interested in coming to the library," Seblonka said.
Once kids are signed up for the program, they're given a reading log. As they participate in activities related to reading, they make a note of it in their log. Once their reading log is full, children have earned the right to enter for one of 23 prize drawings and can get a new log to fill for another chance to win a prize.
And plenty of activities can be written in their reading logs: kids can read by themselves, have someone read to them, they can read to others, write a letter or a poem or attend library programs.
"If they come to a library program or listen to a book or write a letter or poem, everything counts towards their logs," Seblonka said.
Along with its regularly scheduled programming - such as story-time or story and craft hour - the library is bringing in professional story-tellers and other groups, like Cirque Amongus.
"The kids will be able to do things like little trapezes and all sorts of stuff that relates to the the circus," she said.
All the programming is free of charge. A number of local businesses and area residents donated items to be used in the prize drawings. The grand prize this year is a new bike, donated in part by Down Wind Sports of Marquette.
"It's really fun, very exciting, lots of energy," Seblonka said. "And reading over the summer helps kids maintain their reading levels. If they stop reading for three months, their reading levels fall some, so it maintains their reading levels. Their interest in reading is kept up so when they go back to school in the fall, they're more ready, they're not lagging behind."
An ice cream social is held near the end of the summer, Aug. 6, for everyone in the program to attend. Prize winners are announced then and every participant receives a book of their own to take home.
But it's not just kids getting in on the action. The Peter White Public Library is also hosting a teen program, "Reading ... can you dig it?" and have their own set of prizes to enter to win. Adults also have their ow program with the "Ground Breaking Reads" program. Prizes in the adult program include dinner for two at Caper's Restaurant in the Landmark Inn and a $50 gift certificate to the Marquette Food Co-op.
For more information on the "Dig Into Reading" program, check with your local library.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.