Archive for Thursday, June 1, 2006

Wild beasts give reading a boost

June 1, 2006

To go up against a new pool to the east and the beeps and whizzes of videogames, the Eudora Public Library has enlisted the help of the animal kingdom to help youngsters crack open a book this summer.

The furry ones will be the star attraction in this year's summer reading program themed "Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales."

Organizer Heidi Elliott said she had events planned throughout the summer beginning with a kickoff party straight from the wild at 10 a.m. Thursday at Nottingham Elementary School.

Representatives from the Topeka Zoo will have a presentation for the youngsters, Elliott said.

The exact form of the zoo presentation gave Elliott pause for thought.

"It just depends on what they have available," Elliott said.

No matter what form the presentation takes, the event should leave the youngsters entertained, Elliott said.

"(The) presentation will be about 45 minutes, then we will have cookies and prizes," Elliott said.

Last year, Elliott said she had 278 kids signed up to take part in the summer program. She's hoping for more this year.

"Each year we have more. I'm hoping we can get closer to 300 this year," Elliott said.

Early sign ups seem to be getting the program off on the right foot, she said.

"So far, everybody has been really excited about it," Elliott said. "We've already got about 130 kids signed up."

Eudora's library isn't the only institution taking part in the program this summer.

"There's quite a few states that do the same program," Elliott said.

Although several states take part in the reading program, sometimes she has the opportunity to be creative with the curriculum, Elliott said.

When planning for the summer Elliott said she started off with the program's manual.

"We don't have the budget to do all the things that they want us to do in the manual," Elliot said. "So we just try our own things."

Later in the summer, the reading program participants will see a presentation from workers from Prairie Park Nature Center, talk to employees at a Lawrence pet store and learn from a search and rescue unit, Elliott said.

"There's also two craft days scheduled, then a final party," Elliott said.

Getting everything coordinated to go on time was one of the biggest challenges in getting ready for the summer, Elliott said.

In addition to "Paws and Claws," the library will offer a similar reading program for youngsters 12 and older called "Creature Feature," Elliott said.

"They'll meet every Wednesday for lunch and they'll do a couple projects," Elliott said.

Adults will also have a chance to gather to read in a program entitled "Get Their Paws on a Good Book," which will run until Aug. 21.

On the whole, Elliott said she's excited for the program to start because it tapped into something that seems very important to the kids.

"I think all the programs ---- they're all animal oriented ---- and that seems to be a real big deal around here," Elliott said. "The kids really like that.

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