The Strathmore Municipal Library is once again hosting its summer reading programs and is excited for them to effectively return to normal.
Last year, although programs were allowed to be hosted in person, gathering for activities had to be held exclusively outdoors. With COVID-19 restrictions now lifted, programs will return to business as usual.
“We have a theme for our camps here, which is ‘once upon a time,’ so we are focusing on activities based on fairy tales and myths and legends, which is now structured into different age groups that will meet once a week at different times, doing activities such as games and crafts,” said Jeannie Nelson, one of the library’s summer reading program coordinators.
“We also have our teen summer reading club that’s going as well, so that will be Thursday afternoons, which will be part of the summer reading program but there will be a little bit of a different structure,” added Luke Schramm, who is working alongside Nelson.
Schramm explained the theme of the summer reading programs is handed down from TD, who organizes the programs in general, but that the library coordination team breaks the main idea down into subthemes for participants to engage with every week.
Seven weeks of programming will be hosted at the library over the course of the summer, with each week being themed differently under the fairy tale and fantasy umbrella. These will include a mythical creature week, magic week, and so on.
Youth within the community who chose to participate will be split into four age groups: kindergarten to Grade 2, Grades 3-4, Grades 5-6, or the teen program.
The library will also be hosting community events every Friday, that will be open to people who are not in the program, however according to Schramm, those events are very much still in the planning stages.
“Alongside the weekly activities, kids can do reading logs which also enters them into the opportunity to win prizes depending on their reading minutes,” said Nelson. “When there is a more attainable goal, it makes them more motivated to read and it doesn’t feel like school, or that they need to get something done.”
Schramm said the goal of encouraging youth to read is to maintain and practice their literacy and show kids the joy of reading without it feeling like a chore or a return to school over the summer.
“Lots of times, that can slip for kids in the summertime, so we want to make sure they are having fun staying on top of that in a really low stakes way,” said Schramm.
According to Karissa Carlson, who rounds out the summer reading program team alongside Nelson and Schramm, the program hosted last year saw roughly 120 local youths signed up, excluding those from the teen program.
Kids are encouraged to register early as time slots will initially be capped at 30 kids to allow for ease of organization.
People within the community aged 13 and older are encouraged to volunteer and can do so online or in person. Teens can both volunteer as well as participate in the teen reading program.
Registration opened on June 4 and more information can be found on the summer reading program page on the library’s website.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times