MARQUETTE - Summer may mean a new degree of freedom for area kids and teens, but a number of them will be hitting the books once again - but for fun through area library summer reading programs.
Many area libraries are participating in programming called "Dream Big - Read!" this year as part of a cooperative regional program that involves many states across the country.
Spanning most of the summer, reading programs encourage kids and teens to read regularly for fun through keeping reading logs and special programming.
Many area libraries are running special reading programs to encourage kids and teens to read regularly for fun this summer — hitting the books as well as the beach.
This year's "Dream Big" curriculum can be taken in almost any direction, depending on what interests the kids.
"For 'Dream Big - Read' we're looking at looking to the stars, the universe. Then nighttime dreaming. Even career-wise, dreaming of what you want to choose as a career," said Cathy Seblonka, youth services director for the Peter White Public Library in Marquette. "We're going all over with it. It's really fun."
The Peter White library is hosting a special kickoff party from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday in the library's Community Room, allowing kids and families to start their summer reading with games, crafts and the chance to register for the summer-long program.
Throughout the summer, the kids are asked to complete reading logs, which they submit when filled out for prize drawings. Those who are unable to attend the party can still register for the program up until the reading logs are due on Aug. 3.
After the kickoff party, the summer is packed with special events from family-friendly concerts to pajama parties to special crafts like making dream catchers.
In June, the program features three concerts - a Corinne Rockow Family Concert at 10 a.m. on June 14, a Bergonzi String Quartet presentation of Babar at 1 p.m. on June 26 and the Laszlo Slomovits Family Concert at 1 p.m. on June 29, all in the Community Room.
In July, additional concerts, crafts and activities will be held, including a visit from Mark Rosenthal, who was named Michigan Entertainer of the Year by Nickelodeon, bringing a variety of sleeping and nocturnal animals from around the world. The visit is set for 10 a.m. on July 20 in the Community Room.
Finally, in August, the summer reading program finishes with an ice cream social on Aug. 7 to conclude the program.
Teens are also encouraged to keep track of their reading with a separate program called "Light Up The Night - Read."
"To maintain your reading skills, you need to keep reading," Seblonka said of the importance of summer reading programs. "In the summer you can read whatever you want just for the fun of reading, reading something new."
The Peter White library, however, isn't the only library offering summer programming for kids.
Through June 15 at the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library, kids will be kicking off their summer reading at 1 p.m. each day with an event called "Pop Our Tops." Kids who attend will be able to pick out a free book and their programming materials for the summer program.
At 1 p.m. Tuesday June 26, kids are invited to come to the library in their pajamas for a mid-day camp out, including building tents and making s'mores.
On July 18, the Ishpeming library will be visited by paleontologist and author PaleoJoe at 10 a.m. In addition, kids are also invited to their own book club to talk about Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House book "Dinosaurs Before Dark"at 1 p.m. July 31. Free copies are available at the library.
The Ishpeming program wraps up from Aug. 21-31 at 1 p.m. each day with a popcorn party. In addition to the kids programming, the Ishpeming library is also offering a teen summer reading program with book clubs, trivia nights, a cupcake decorating activity and other events.
Kids in Negaunee can begin signing up for the Negaunee Public Library's summer reading program all day Monday, with the reading logs officially starting on June 18. As with other libraries, kids fill in the logs and return them for prizes. The Negaunee "Dream Big - Read" program ends on July 27 with a party that will be scheduled in the coming months.
Forsyth Township kids can also get into the practice of reading this summer through the Forsyth Township Public Library, which is also offering a reading program. Kids in preschool through grade eight can register at the library beginning Monday. For each book participants read off of the library's reading list, they are eligible to receive a prize.
For more information, full lists of events and library hours, visit the libraries' websites.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.