Summer reading program to feature games, pets, cooking

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Siblings Jacob Howell, back, and Hannah Howell begin reading Wednesday for the Summer Reading program at Clovis-Carver Public Library. The program begins Friday and runs through July 29.

Liliana Castillo

A cook-off, Minute to Win It games, a pet parade and lots of reading will combine for the annual Summer Reading program at Clovis-Carver Public Library.

The two-month free program begins Friday with a free viewing of the movie “How To Train Your Dragon” and runs through July 29.

The program rewards children for reading, said Youth Services Librarian Krissie Carter, and entertains them to keep them engaged.

The theme of “One World, Many Stories” will provide a multi-cultural program, Carter said.

Carter said the program includes two events for teens, the most difficult age group to get involved, and a chance to win a 16 GB MP3 video player. Teens who volunteer with the Summer Reading program also get an entry for the MP3 player each time they volunteer.

Teens can compete in Minute to Win It Games on June 13 and in the Chopped Challenge on July 11. Minute to Win It games stems from the TV show in which teens take part in a series of 60-second challenges that use objects commonly available around the house.

The Chopped Challenge also comes from the TV show in which contestants are given the same ingredients and are tasked with making a visually-appealing dish that tastes good, while using all of the ingredients. Judges decide the winner.

In both competitions, teens will compete for a $30 mall gift card.

The program has a group or activity for children from 9 months through 12th grade, Carter said, and each program is different because each age group’s knowledge is different.

Children from infant through sixth grade meet weekly in groups and every other Friday offers a free movie viewing at 1 p.m.

Carter said her Toddler Time group has grown so much that she created a second meeting time. She said literacy begins in the womb.

“Reading quietly to your baby so they can hear your voice is comforting,” Carter said. “And when they are born, you read to them. And when they grow up, they see you reading and want to touch the book. That’s how it starts.”

Carter said it’s important for children and youths to keep their minds active over the summer.

“I tell kids when they take a tour of the library to think of a muscle,” Carter said. “If you work hard and build up a muscle, as soon as you stop, it becomes a limp noodle. Your brain is the same. Why go back to school with a lumpy squishy brain? Go back strong.”

Carter said summer is a good time for children and youth to catch up on reading books that might not be on a reading list from their teachers.

“Kids are like anybody. It’s amazing what they can do when they want to,” Carter said. “When you sit around the house watching TV and playing video games, you’re not thinking for yourself. When you can think for yourself, the world is a much better place.”

Julie Howell, an instructional coach at Cameo Elementary School, spent time at the library Wednesday with her two children so they all could pick books to read for the reading program.

“To me, school is important to learn a foundation. The love of reading comes from choosing what you want to read,” Howell said.

Howell said her family are all readers and they spend quiet nights at home, each with their nose in a book.

“I spent hours in the basement at the old library. Reading was an important part of my childhood and I want to instill that in my kids,” Howell said.

Howell said as a mom, she wants her children to love reading and as an educator, she knows it’s important for her children to use their brain during the summer.

“Reading allows them to keep those skills they worked all year to have,” she said. “It keeps them reading and thinking.”

Howell said reading over the summer helps reduce the learning gap children often experience after two months out of the classroom.

“It’s a very good thing,” Howell said of the reading program.