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Library to host Kick-Off Party for summer reading program

By Staff | May 23, 2018

Teens, children and little ones are invited to stop by the Sanibel Public Library this weekend to celebrate the start of the annual summer reading program and sign up for it.

The library will host a Kick-Off Party on May 26 from 10 a.m. to noon for the program “Libraries Rock!,” as well as the “Reading for Others!” initiative. They encourage youth to enjoy reading and offer opportunities to spend time with books, take part in activities and more.

Participating children can read to earn books for themselves, which the Sanibel Public Library Foundation then matches with books for the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Created six years ago, the Reading for Others! initiative is underwritten by the foundation. Last year, 1,810 books were earned by readers for patients at the hospital.

“It’s a get-together to come out and register,” Youth Services Librarian Deanna Evans said.

There will be snacks, socializing and games for the children.

PHOTO PROVIDED Local cartoonist and author Doug MacGregor will lead a cartooning and drawing session on July 24 at 3 p.m. at the Sanibel Public Library as part of its summer reading program schedule.

“When they register, they also get a registration gift,” she said.

Evans noted that the summer reading programs have been going on for years, with a different theme each year. Participating children track the amount of time they read or complete activities and receive a free book when they reach a certain amount, based on their age. For example, youth in third through 12th grade must read for two hours.

According to Evans, a total of 244 children signed up for the summer program in 2017.

“Last year, we had 20 percent more readers than the year before,” she said.

Families can log their child’s reading time and activities via paper or – for the second year – online using the website and app Beanstack; a link is available on the library’s website on the youth page.

PHOTO PROVIDED Master storyteller Windell Campbell will weave tales, both modern and classic, for the audience on July 10 at 3 p.m. at the Sanibel Public Library as part of its summer reading program schedule.

“Last year, 66 percent of our readers signed up online with Beanstack,” Evans said.

She explained that island families would travel and forget their children’s paper log at home.

“I wanted them to be able to track their reading and participate from a distance,” Evans said.

She explained that reading over the summer has been shown to help children maintain their current reading level rather than slipping a level behind, helps to increase word acquisition and more.

“The importance of reading during the summer is to keep up their skills,” Evans said. “Reading, like anything else, takes practice.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Last year, the Sanibel Public Library Foundation presented 1,818 books to the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida as part of the library's “Reading for Others!” initiative.

Families unable to attend the party can register online or in person at the library.

The summer reading program will run to Aug. 4.

During June and July, the library will feature weekly programs and special events for youth.

There will be family-friendly musical movies every Friday at 2 p.m., along with VIP after-hours gatherings on Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. for sixth through 12th grade. Some of the planned activities include jewelry making, guitar pick creating, cupcake decorating and virtual reality experiences.

“Every week it’s something different,” she said. “It gives them a place to come together. To experience something new they haven’t experienced before or experience something that they love to do.”

Family Storytime is scheduled for Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Designed for babies up to age 5, the program encourages the development of a child’s pre-reading skills with singing, reading, writing and playing.

The following special events are also planned for the summer for kindergartners through fifth grade:

– June 5 at 3 p.m.: Make a rainstick, build a tambourine and decorate a maraca shaker – then make some noise. Open to ages 5 to 11; no registration required.

– June 13 at 3 p.m.: Licensed herpetologist John Storms and his exotic live “world of reptiles.”

“John brings animals with him and talks about their environment and how they live, how he acquired the animals and what they should do – or not do – if they ever see one,” Evans said.

– June 19 at 3 p.m.: Experiment with frosting bags and decorative tips in the “cupcake crusades,” practicing first on graham crackers and then going for the prize – a cupcake. Open to kindergarteners through fifth grade. Sundaes are planned for July 17.

– June 26 at 3 p.m.: Joey, Alexandra and Sydney – the live Eclectus parrot – will lead youth on an adventure in finding their tune. The interactive show incorporates music, puppets, illusion and comedy.

– July 3 at 3 p.m.: Tampa Taiko will present an interactive performance highlighting the history of taiko, the music of Japan, and modern drumming.

“He also gives the kids the opportunity to play on the drums,” she said.

– July 10 at 3 p.m.: Master storyteller Windell Campbell will weave tales, both modern and classic, as he takes the audience along on an exciting journey using his voice and puppets to bring stories alive.

“He is brilliant storyteller,” Evans said.

– July 24 at 3 p.m.: Cartooning and drawing session with cartoonist and author Doug MacGregor

“He’s going to be helping them draw figures and facial expressions, and talking a little bit about his books and how to come up with ideas for making your own story,” she said.

– July 31 at 3 p.m.: Showtime for Kids will bring hilarious comedy, jaw-dropping magic, audience participation and awesome balloon sculpting to the library.

The programs are free and open to the public.

“You don’t have to have a library card, you don’t have to be a member of the library,” Evans said. “Everyone’s invited and I hope to see them all.”

For more information, call 239-472-2483 or visit online at www.sanlib.org.

The Sanibel Public Library is at 770 Dunlop Road.