MARCO ISLAND — Even though school’s out for summer, an excited Shamus Coyle, who is going into the first grade, wanted to stop by his school and show his principal, Jory Westberry of Tommie Barfield Elementary the prize he received for already reading eight books.
“Since school has been out, Shamus has been busy reading and told me that he checked out eight more books so he could continue to read over the summer,” said Westberry. “His prize meant a lot to him; it was a soft miniature dinosaur, given by the Marco Island library as an incentive to reading books.”
Throughout the summer, the library is hosting a variety of programs for families and young readers alike geared to keep that excitement about reading alive until school reopens.
Ellen Tanner, children’s and young adult’s librarian said that the younger set loves “The Magic Tree House” and other series.
“The character Judy Moody, by author Megan McDonald, is big as is her little brother Stink.
Boys like ‘Star Wars’ and stories about superheroes like ‘Batman’ and ‘Spiderman,’ ” she said.
“Some young teens still like the vampire books and Rick Riordan’s 2005 fantasy-adventure novel ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ series, based on Greek mythology. ‘The Hungar Games,’ a young-adult science fiction novel written by Suzanne Collins is also big right now.”
Tanner said that the latter is a futuristic story where kids play in the hunger games and if they win their community gets more food than others. She noted that while boys like non-fiction, it is a challenge to find titles that interest them.
Other go-to books are those by Florida Sunshine state award nominees, she said. Last Spring, students voted on their favorite titles and the winning authors were awarded. There are 15 titles for third to fifth graders and a list for sixth through eighth graders.
One young gal, going into fourth grade opted for Michael Buckley’s “Nerds” (National Espionage Rescue and Defense Society,” a fast-paced humorous read, geared for those in grades three to seven on the topics of bullying and social non-acceptance.
“Every summer we have a six week themed summer reading program on Thursdays at 3 to 4 p.m. (ends July 25). Parents can register their children from grades one to five at any time for one program or all,” she said.
“This year the theme is ‘One World, Many Stories’ and each week we cover a different area or country. I read a book or two and we play games and have a craft for kids. There are about 24 children attending.”
The children are also counting books read and the kids can report on books read at home and earn pocket prizes at each report.
Tanner explained that readers select books from wither of two categories. The “E” category books are easy to read and picture books. At level the children read 15 books, at level two 15 more and to earn the dog tag, children read another 15 books for a total of 45 books.
The “J” or juvenile category is for independent readers who can read fiction or non-fiction. Level one must read 10 books, level two reads 10 more books and for those who read a total of 30 a dog tag is given.
“The completion of level two in either category earns an entry into a drawing for a one year family membership at the Naples Zoo. Winners will be drawn T the Headquarters Library on Orange Blossom Drive, in Naples on July 29,” she added.
On July 1 from to 2 to 4 p.m., teens can watch the movie, “Justin Bieber Never Say Never, and July 15, from 2 to 3 p.m. grades six to ten can attend a craft class on making jewelry from paper clips for 6-10 graders at 2 to 3 p.m.
The family program on June 30 from 6 to 6:40 p.m. includes a presentation of magic and fun by Professor Patches and on July 14 from 6 to 6:45 p.m., the Kowiachobee Preserve will have live animals.
The Golisano Children’s Museum and WGCU is doing a short series for children going into grades one to four, from 2 to 3 p.m. on July 8. The topic is pets and their care. Children will also make their own pet puppet. On July 22, they will explore the world through music and movement followed by making an instrument.
Library programs are funded by the Friends of the Library of Collier County. However, while the library receives state and county funding, Tanner said they have faced budget cuts and
submitted their latest budget at 3 percent less than the previous budget.
“Students who do nothing over the summer to practice their newly-learned skills generally regress in their attained reading and math levels. If they read a variety of materials and practice their math facts, they will be more confident and start off at a higher level in August,” said Westberry.
“Parents who conduct regular intelligent conversations with their children, who ask higher level thinking questions, who encourage their children to read and who take advantage of those teachable moments generally have children who are more aware, insightful and more confident.”
If you go
MARCO ISLAND LIBRARY
Where: 210 South Heathwood Drive, Marco Island
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday