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Let the library help you get your fingers dirty this summer

At the Library: Jennifer Adams

By A Contributor

Get ready to “Dig into Reading” all summer at the library for our summer reading theme. Story times and clubs will be focusing on underground animals, dinosaur fossils, gardens and worms, construction trucks and more. June 29 is International Mud Day, so this year our Saturday story time that day will be all about glorious mud, with a mud pie-making contest at the end, held outside. There is also a lot more going on, so be sure to add the library to your summer schedule.

Our summer reading kick-off party is from 10 a.m. to noon June 1. All ages are invited to visit the library to sign up for summer reading and find treasure. We will provide a treasure map for anyone interested in seeking out various desks and locations within the library, playing fun games for prizes and learning to talk like a pirate. Kids can create pirate costume pieces for themselves and watch “Pirate Pete’s Puppet Show” in the auditorium.

The library’s summer reading program is a fun way to motivate kids to read during the break from school. Continuing to read on a regular basis is critical for kids to maintain and improve their reading skills so they are prepared to enter the next grade in the fall. Summer reading also motivates parents to read aloud to their younger children and teens to read books, magazines or graphic novels that interest them and that don’t come with any assignments or reports attached. Adults can also join in and have some extra incentive to tackle some titles from their too many books, too little time list.

Participating is easy; you can register at the library or online. Keep track of your reading time to earn prizes like free books, restaurant or store gift certificates, toys, mugs, etc. Our sponsors are amazingly generous, with Vista Drive-In donating 1000 free ice cream cone coupons, as they have done for more than 10 years and many other fabulous donations.

Story times begin June 3 with options for babies, toddlers and preschoolers throughout the week, including Saturdays. Baby Rhyme Time for ages 0 to 18 months meets at 11 a.m. Mondays and at 10 a.m. Thursdays. In addition to bouncy rhymes, songs and music, each parent and baby pair gets to read a choral reader book together during each session. One week will focus on construction vehicles with our new choral reader board book “Dinosaur Dig,” which has lots of fun language and colorful pictures.

The Move and Groove story times for toddlers and preschoolers will feature lots of great storybooks, flannel boards, action rhymes and dancing to music, parachute play and digging for treasures or crawling through our cloth tunnel to go along with the dig theme. Our goal is for kids to emerge excited about books and reading every day.

Summer clubs for kids going into kindergarten through 6th grade will be busy with lots of cool stories, games and crafts. The youngest set will join the Precocious Prairie Dogs Club and will feature some funny and strange underground animals. One week will include a wiggly-jiggly worm relay outside. The Digging Detectives Club for 2nd and 3rd graders will focus on dinosaurs one week; they will make their own mini dinosaur island using playdough, sticks, grass and other natural materials.

Ms. Rachel likes to come up with fascinating and grown up activities for the 4th through 6th graders, who can attend the Archaeo-Paleo-Anthro-Pologists club on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Each week will cover a different ancient culture, plus one week on dinosaur fossils. When they learn about ancient China, Rachel will show the terracotta warriors and then allow kids to try to piece together pottery shards.

We’re showing free kids’ movies at 2 p.m. every Friday including several titles based on popular children’s books that involve digging, living underground, saving burrowing animals or traveling inside a giant fruit.

A couple of special treats for animal lovers include the Milford Nature Center program June 14 and the monthly ZOOfari programs June 28 and July 26. Staff from Milford will present “Can You Dig It? Life in a Dog Town,” with amazing facts about prairie dogs and all the animals that depend on prairies. Did you know prairie dogs have kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms in their homes? You can also learn about burrowing owls, turtles and salamanders that call these tunnels home and meet a black-footed ferret. The June ZOOfari Tails will focus on animal dads, and in July the stories will be about pond animals with a visit from a live salamander or toad.

We will also be continuing our Sunday afternoon “R.E.A.D. With Dogs” program during which kids can sign up to read to a reading education assistance dog (certified therapy dog) for 15 minutes. The dogs are beautiful, kind and nonjudgmental, creating the perfect environment for reading practice. Of course, this time can be included on the summer reading logs as kids work toward earning their prizes.

You can already get a little taste of the summer theme at 11 a.m. this Saturday at our “Holey Moley” stories on the lawn. Just meet on the Poyntz side lawn, bring a blanket or chair or maybe a picnic lunch and be entertained with funny stories and a cute craft to take home.

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