Summer reading has its rewards

Hope Library has arranged several events this summer as part of its reading club program

Here’s the deal. Joining (and it’s not too late!) any one of the reading clubs at the library this summer means rewards in spades.

For starters, it’s a lot of fun.

Earlier this month the library was the place to be as we hosted a Trés Fancy Nancy Tea Party as 12 wee ladies arrived dressed in the most elegant of dresses, boas, and tiaras. They then practiced their curtsies, sipped (ever so daintily, of course!) bubble gum tea from real china teacups, and nibbled fancy cupcakes – Oo-la-la!

The following week, in our fourth Summer Reading Club 2012 program, Len Stanga of Pangea Arts entertained a full house – over 50 kids and parents – with folktales from Indonesia and Japan.

Next month, and as part of the ongoing learning aspect of the reading club, we’ve arranged a Mad Science program on Thursday, August 9.

At this program kids and families will discover the cool chemistry behind states of matter and learn the intriguing basics of air pressure. Scissors will unexpectedly sizzle and carbon dioxide will bubble! On Friday, August 17 we will once again welcome pets and their kids into the library for the second annual Pet Parade.

How do the clubs work? Each club member chooses a reading goal of a minimum of 15 minutes a day and can read anything at all. Cereal boxes, comic books, graphic novels — you name it! After seven days of reading, club members bring their reading records into the library to get stickers and reading prizes and the opportunity to enter the draws and candy count contests.

For teens, those who read for a week get a chance to win weekly Panago pizza coupons. All teen draw slips are then sent on to our administrative centre to be entered into a larger draw for netbook computers, Chapters gift cards, and more. For the adults, we’re drawing for gift card prizes every two weeks.

All this leads up to the big summer’s end party where we celebrate a summer of reading accomplishments with musician Chris Hamilton and his lively songs for kids. In addition to some of his favourites from his critically acclaimed CDs, Chris will debut a brand-new song written especially for Summer Reading Club 2012. Kids who complete a summer of reading will have medals presented to them by Mayor Susan Johnston. And did I mention there will be ice cream too?

So reading over the summer has its rewards!

But best of all, summer reading clubs help children succeed academically.

In 2010, a three-year study in the United States confirmed children who participated in summer reading programs “scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those students who did not participate.”

In addition, the study found that those who participated began the next school year with more confidence.

It’s cool to be ready for school!

On the nightstand:

A Century of Wisdom: Lessons From the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest living Holocaust survivor by Caroline Stoessinger. This is the fascinating story of 108-year-old concert pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, once a refuge from the Czech Republic.

Forsaken Trust, by local (Harrison Lake) writer Diane Wild. Fiction loosely based on her mother’s experiences as a Home Child. A spring author reading in the works!

Magnified World, the debut novel by Grace O’Connell. Selected as one of the Globe and Mail’s Fab Five Young Canadian writers, O’Connell’s use of language is both clever and fresh. Loving it.