Looks Bright: Hero stories highlight St. John reading push

Published 12:09 am Saturday, June 6, 2015

LAPLACE — Ready, set, read!

Margaret Carlson reads to Jacob Sosa and Ben Duhe, right, Thursday at the LaPlace library during storytime.

Margaret Carlson reads to Jacob Sosa and Ben Duhe, right, Thursday at the LaPlace library during storytime.

The St. John the Baptist Parish Library System — which has branches located in LaPlace, Reserve, Edgard and Garyville — launched its summer reading program Monday, and organizers say the initiative offers something for all ages.

Margaret Carlson, who has been the system’s childrens librarian for nearly 23 years, said the tradition of a summer reading program is something that has been in place for as long as she can remember.

Continuing the tradition, she said, is very important.

“Different studies show the more kids read during the summer, the less they forget from the school year,” she said. “It’s been shown if they maintain the skill level they maintained during the school year, they are less likely to lose those skills.”

This year, the library system chose superhero-related themes for its three reading programs.

For children up to age 12, the system launched an “Every Hero Has A Story” program.

Carlson said children and their parents can visit a parish library to sign up, and when they do they will receive a bookmark, reading log, superhero bracelet and sticker.

After reading 10 books, a participating child will receive a certificate, a magnetic photo frame and their name printed in L’OBSERVATEUR at the end of the summer.

After reading 20 books, Carlson said, a child will receive a sports bag and their first ticket to enter into an end-of-the-program drawing for special prizes. For every 20 books a child reads, their name gets entered again in the drawing.

Carlson said story times, craft projects, family movie nights, visits from local heroes such as St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s Office and military personnel and visits from traveling acts are planned for children throughout the summer at all library branches.

“You can find something to do every day of the week,” she said.

Another program — “Unmask!” — is aimed at teenagers ages 13-18 and was established to motivate them to read and discuss literature. Poetry jam sessions, Wii game days, art shows and scavenger hunts fill the teen programming calendar.

Carlson said Library System Director Roberta August decided to start an adult summer reading program for the first time this year.

The adult program — “Escape the Ordinary” — encourages adults to experience the joy of reading and August said said one adult program participant will win an Android tablet.

The reading programs will run through July 31.

More information and a full list of calendar events can be found at stjohn.lib.la.us.