• 70°

Gearing up for summer reading

Some kids will tell you that the best thing about getting out ofschool is that they don’t have to deal with all those books.

But area summer reading programs are kicking up for the summer,trying to remind kids that there are rewards on a lot of levels forbeing a reader.

“We just want it to be fun,” said Lincoln County Public LibraryChildren’s Librarian Donna Kenney. “We try to find things that theycan do that will be fun for them during the summer.”

So far, Brookhaven’s summer reading program has registered justover 280 children. Kenney said registration will continue untilJune 11, or until the supplies run out.

Meanwhile, Wesson Library Susan Alsbury said registration forWesson’s summer reading begins officially on June 1, withactivities beginning in July. Children are already throwing theirnames in the pot now.

“We’ve had about 20 sign up already, so all you have to do iscome by and fill out the paperwork,” she said. “Last year a littleover 70 signed up altogether.”

Kenney said Lincoln County’s program will see visits from thepopular “Snake Man” Terry Vandeventer, as well as a magician andseveral other speakers, to entertain the children, who can be fromage 2 to the ones who have just completed fifth grade.

“The 2-year-olds were coming anyway, but weren’t really able toparticipate, so we opened it up to them, too,” Kenney said.

Meanwhile, Wesson has activities such as puppet shows and playsplanned out for the summer, and there will be a special secretsurprise at the awards ceremony. There will also be a luau andwater sports on the closing day.

“There are a lot of fun activities, every week they have achance to win different prizes and free things, and we’ve got lotsof giveaways,” Alsbury said. “Plus there’s always something like aplay or a puppet show, there are always refreshments, and they knowthe awards ceremony is going to be something special.”

Lincoln County’s program takes place on Mondays, Tuesdays andThursdays, and a calendar of events is available at registration,Kenney said.

Wesson’s summer reading events take place every Tuesday morningin July from 10-11:30 a.m., Alsbury said.

Kenney said the point of the program is to make sure thatchildren don’t close the doors of the school behind them for thesummer and close their books at the same time.

“We’d like to send them back with as much knowledge as they leftwith, if not more,” she said. “We don’t want them to get out forthe summer and forget everything.”

Alsbury said the Wesson program rewards readers based on pages,rather than books, so that readers of all levels can berewarded.

“It doesn’t matter if you read thick or thin books, everyone isassured of getting some kind of award,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kenney said her program has lost some sponsors thisyear and would love any support possible from area businesses andindividuals. In addition, she said, applications for volunteers areavailable at the library.

But either way, she said, bring the children. Alsburyagreed.

“The important thing is to keep kids reading during the summer,and we make it very easy for them to read,” she said. “We just wantthem to go back to school with the skills they had when they left.Or better.”