Summer reading program begins June 1

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – With students across St. John the Baptist Parish about to be released from the confines of the school year into the freedom of the summer months, many parents are wondering how to keep their children’s brains from turning to mush like so much cheese left in the sweltering sun.

One option for keeping those young minds sharp is the Summer Reading Program offered at all branches of the St. John Public Library system.

The free program begins June 1 and runs through the end of July. As in years past, it will feature a variety of crafts, activities and performers.

The performers already scheduled for this summer include magicians David LeBeouf and Trigg Burrage and storytellers Frank Levy and Donald Lewis.

The main program, with the theme “Make a Splash — Read,” is for children ages 5-11. Participants are eligible to receive a certificate denoting program completion after they have read 10 books.

Those who read 50 books will be recognized as “Star Readers.”

Although Central Branch Supervisor of Youth Service Roberta August said she is still working out the incentive program, she hopes to reward readers this summer with gift cards to retailers such as Wal-Mart, Academy Sports and Chili’s.

New to the program this year is a guessing game for the youngsters in which they will attempt to deduce the number of objects in a jar.

A trophy contest has also been added, with a trophy going to the school that has the most students complete the program.

A teen program, “Make Waves at Your Library,” serves the older student population.

Based on the same basic concept as the one for the youngsters, this program caters to the tastes and abilities of the over-13 crowd.

For instance, the teen group will watch different movies from their younger cohorts. Also, teens can complete the program after reading only one book because their books tend to be much longer. According to August, books must be age-appropriate.

August explained there are reasons beyond just working one’s brain during the summer to join the club. Many schools have summer reading lists, and these books can count toward completion of the program. Also, students can earn service hours by helping out with some of the chores necessary to make the program a success.

Even those too young to read will have a reason to visit the library this summer with the “Read 2 Me” Program.

“The library is a wonderful place,” said August. “It’s a family event, so hopefully we’ll get the whole family involved.”