Summer reading programs kicking off with events

OSCEOLA/MECOSTA COUNTIES — The 2017-18 academic year is coming to a close, meaning students will have more time for fun as their summer vacation begins. The start of their break, however, does not have to be the end of their learning before school starts again in the fall.

Local libraries will be offering reading programs to encourage children, teens and adults to get out of the house and dive into literary adventures from June to August. Throughout these summer-long programs, families can find fun, activities and performances, including “Paleo” Joe, paleontologist, author and storyteller; Whispering Pines Mobile Zoo; and more. Each year, the summer reading program has a different theme, with this year’s being “Libraries Rock.” Many of the events planned will incorporate the theme.

“This is a six-week program,” said Evart Public Library librarian Sally Zoyiopoulos. “Program participants don’t have to be Evart Public Schools students. We just want kids to read through the summer.”

Evart’s library started the summer program with a live concert, and will offer different events through the season, including a dance demonstration on June 25.

Beginning Saturday, June 23, Reed City residents and visitors can participate in events at the Reed City Area District Library. A kickoff party for the Reed City summer reading program will begin at noon and continue through 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, and will include “Joel’s Page Rocker Magical Comedy Show.”

Those taking a trip through Mecosta County can continue their summer reading adventure with stories and activities. Those hoping to pick up a book or catch at program at the Morton Township Library can do so on Wednesdays through Aug. 1, for children entering kindergarten through fifth grade; and on Thursdays from June 21 through July 26, for students entering fifth through 12th grades.

In Remus, the summer reading program will run from Thursday, June 21, through August at the Wheatland Township Library.

“The library is an important part of growing up,” said Library Director Rebecca Kurtz, noting the program keeps children busy through the summer and helps them enjoy reading.

Those near Morley Stanwood Community Schools can find program activities beginning Tuesday, June 19, at the Walton Erickson Public Library, and the Big Rapids Community Library has reading program events planned throughout most of the week through Aug. 2. Attendees do not need to own a library card to participate in the events.

“People always talk about the ‘summer slide,’” said Chris Cook, Big Rapids Community Library assistant director, noting students who don’t read through the summer begin the next academic year behind their peers. “This program makes reading more fun and community-wide. It will help to keep the kids reading through the summer.”

Summer readers will need to register to participate in the program and earn points toward prizes.