Parents wanting to get a jump on their kids' summer plans and anyone else looking forward to reading through the warm season can sign up beginning Monday, May 13, for the 2019 Summer Reading Program.
From June 3 through July 27, all ages – from babies to adults – can win prizes by taking part in the annual readfest. Participants will set their own goals and keep track of them on reading logs. They’ll earn prizes as they work toward their goals and be entered in a prize drawing for gift baskets and three grand prizes of $100 Walmart gift cards.
The summer’s theme is “A Universe of Stories” and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Two months of programs and events are planned for adults, teens and youths, many of which are related to space, including planetarium shows on Thursday, June 13, and Tuesday, July 16, at Missouri Western State University; astronaut training sessions for kids on Monday, July 1, and Wednesday, July 3; and a special event on Thursday, July 18, for all ages to mark the 1969 moon landing.
Getting the summer started is the decidedly earth-bound program of Touch-a-Truck. From 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at the Belt Branch and 3-5 pm. Thursday, May 23, at the Savannah Branch, youths can get see and get inside a variety of emergency vehicles, work trucks and other industrial rides in the library parking lots.
The summer’s lineup of featured performers (who will be at the libraries on Mondays) includes local biologist Jonn Casey and his spiders, lizards, snakes and other creatures on June 3, Mad Science of Kansas City on June 10, singer-songwriter Jennifer Daniels on June 17, singer-storyteller Mike Anderson (aka Dulcimer Guy) on June 24, juggler Brian Wendling on July 8, the Mesner Puppet Theater on July 15 and reptile handler Serengeti Steve on July 22.
All of these events are to bring readers young and old to the library and to inspire them to read while they are out of school or if they need entertainment.
“We know that people are busy, and everyone reads at a different pace, so participants in our program get to set their own goals,” Belt Branch manager Kelly Morris said. “The goals can be as high or as low as you want, and reading can be tracked by minutes, titles or pages -- whatever method is easiest for you to keep track of. We just want people to read!”
Parents have their own important role when it comes to encouraging their kids to read.
“Studies show that when children see the adults in their lives reading, it encourages them to become readers as well,” Morris said. “Reading is especially important for children over the summer and any amount of reading can help prevent ‘summer slide’ -- kids losing skills over the summer when they’re not in school and having to relearn things in the fall.”