Reading Program Staves Off Summer Lull, Sharpens Skills

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Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds is the theme of this year's free summer reading program at the Payson Public Library.

Children who sign up will get a book bag and a bookmark to start marking off the amount of time they spend reading.

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"The Library Dragon," by Carmen Agra Deedy, encourages children to check out books and read at Payson's library. Deedy's book for second- and third-graders includes whimsical tales about a school librarian who is really a dragon.

"What the time-read method does is allow children to read whatever interests them and at their own reading level," said Margaret Jesus, assistant library director. "Children also get credit if they spend time reading to other children or the family. That encourages auditory reading, hearing, in addition to doing some reading on their own."

The program begins June 22, and runs for one month; enrollment starts June 15, and is open for two weeks only.

Children ages 3 to 12 can choose how they will participate.

Two separate sessions occur Wednesday morning: the first is from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and the other, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

"We will have crafts, we have skits, we have stories and fingerplays, puppets and games and singing," said Jesus. "We try to do a broad variety of activities each time we get together."

Those interested in attending the awards picnic July 20, and participating in the four weekly drawings for T-shirts and prizes are encouraged to sign up.

"We have four different bookmarks one for each week," Jesus said. "Every child who turns in all of their reading time gets a book at the end of the program. As long as they turn their bookmarks in on time they are eligible for the drawings."

Readers who plan to attend the Wednesday sessions must sign up each week. Walk-ins are discouraged. Parents are welcome to stay with their children, but they are asked to sign up too.

The library couldn't keep the summer reading program going without the help of the community.

The children's program is supported by local businesses and service clubs. The funds they provide pay for reading incentives, craft supplies and snacks.

"Each year I have a number of junior high level or fifth grade children who come in and help me with the skits, stuffing bags and preparing the craft project for the next week," Jesus said. "They do a lot of the work to help me keep the program going."

The Payson Library is located at 328 N. McLane Road. For more information, call (928) 474-9260. Sign-ups begin June 15.

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