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As summer approaches, local educators and
program planners emphasize the importance of keeping the learning
factor alive once the school year ends.

Locally, Penn State Schuylkill is offering Kids College with a
variety of subjects to explore, from art to sports. Nonprofit
organizations like the Schuylkill YMCA and YWCA are offering day camps
and other activities to keep kids busy.

I can’t fail to mention area libraries and their summer reading
programs, which this year are encouraging youngsters of all ages to
“Catch the Reading Bug!”

With a preschooler at home and always eager to pick up a book, I plan to participate in our local library’s program.

Actually, up until last week, I never set foot in my community library.

Amber and I were taking a walk with her baby dolls (yes, complete
with strollers) when we passed the library. I suggested we stop in on
our trek back, but she wanted to go at that moment.

We did, and I was impressed.

The library has a wonderful children’s section, complete with tables
and chairs and a soft bean bag lounger, so kids can get comfortable,
settle in and have fun. The reading selections were also plentiful,
among them Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Berenstain Bears and Dr. Seuss.

We stayed for a bit, and I ended up reading three books to Amber.
While we were there, I took it upon myself to get her a library card.

We gathered summer reading information before we left, and it sounds
like lots of fun. Children can earn points for the number of pages that
they read, or for younger children who aren’t reading yet, the pages
that their parent or guardian reads to them. They can also earn points
for the number of events that they attend at the library. These points
go toward prizes, and every child receives a prize.

Amber loves to read. As I mentioned in a March 18, 2008 blog,
“Reading is important for fun, for life,” she loves to sit in my lap
and hear stories, but I can also find her reading books to her dolls
and stuffed animals. She might not know the words by looking at them,
but she can

remember a lot of the story word for word just by looking at the pictures on the pages.

She’s excited about going to the library and reading new books, and
I’m looking forward to watching, listening and nurturing her reading
journey this summer.

What are your thoughts on summer reading programs? For more information,

contact your local library and take a look in a book!