Summer reading programs have been shown to encourage children to read regularly and thus maintain or improve their reading skills while school is out.
100 Mile House Branch Library offers such a program annually, and this summer, the theme is Up, Up and Away.
It’s a seven-week program which began July 2 and ends Aug. 15 with an outdoor party in Centennial Park.
Cassie Campbell, a student at University of Victoria and resident of 100 Mile House, runs the 2013 program as her summer job. She also attended the summer reading program as a child, and has great memories of those days.
Throughout the summer, Campbell will be taking her young charges on imaginary trips to the skies, to a voyage through space and follow authors to other worlds. Every week features a sub-theme, which could be anything from superheroes to birds or hot air balloons.
One of the first sessions had the children exploring “things with wings” where they made bee masks, butterflies and clay bugs.
More recently, they learned about flight by making paper airplanes and flying them across the room to see which made it the farthest. The children had fun decorating their creations with colour and drawings before take off.
Cory Bougie, who is in the seven- to nine-year group, says he really likes the art projects they do every week, and so far, making airplanes has been his favourite. He was so excited about the project, he made two planes and discovered the slim design flew the best.
Each craft session is appropriately tailored for its age group, which include three-four; five-six; seven-nine; and 10-12.
Campbell presents the craft, but allows the children to use their imagination to really make it their own.
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing the kids’ creativity.”
The stories, which are read at the beginning of each session, are carefully chosen for each age group. Campbell generally pulls out a selection of up to six books on the topic of the week and lets the children decide which ones they’d like to have her read.
Story time is a favourite for Rachel Thomas because it gives her a hint of what the upcoming craft will be about.
Ethan Mori says he loves doing crafts and even has a craft book at home.
“I like gluing and cutting and using all of the different colours,” he adds.
The program is one of the best parts of the week for Emma Jackson, and the craft segment stirs up good memories for her.
“It reminds me of when my mom used to come to my school and help during my art class and did it with me.”
Campbell says the children are usually pretty excited when they arrive at the program room each week.
“It’s always good to see them waiting at the door.”
Campbell, 20, is studying elementary education at university and says her summer job at the library is providing her with valuable experience.
“It’s nice because I’m working with a lot of different age groups. It’s good for me at this point to get an idea of what kids are like at different ages.”
Being an elementary school teacher has always been on her radar and she credits her love of the school environment to the many good teachers she had while growing up and attending school in 100 Mile House.
The reading program has room for more than 100 children, and at last count, Campbell had 81 registered, with the highest number in the seven to nine-year group. Registrants have their choice of Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to attend.
Sign-up is as easy as dropping by the library to register, free of charge. For more information, call the library at 250-395-2332.
For program times, check the library website at www.cln.bc.ca.