Carnival kicks off Manheim Library summer reading program

By on June 10, 2015

Giggles, squeals of anticipation, and other sounds filled the air as parents and children filled Manheim’s downtown park to celebrate the kickoff of the Manheim Community Library’s summer reading program Friday evening, June 5.

“Every Hero Has A Story” is the theme of this year’s reading program. Carnival activities echoed that theme in face painting designs and a fun photo booth with costumes. Other activities included balloon animals, making crazy snacks, a putting challenge and a chance to meet Curious George. Registration packets for the five age-based reading programs were also available.

“It was a fun way to introduce the summer reading program,” explained library director Barbara Basile. “For pre-readers (children to age 4), it’s about being read to, but for children ages 5 through 19, it encourages reading. There’s also a whole summer of activities for both children and adults.

Silas Brandt uses peanuts and popcorn to create snack mix while his sisters Keturah (standing) and Zipporah watch. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Silas Brandt uses peanuts and popcorn to create snack mix while his sisters Keturah (standing) and Zipporah watch. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Activities for all age groups reflect the theme. Although the summer is filled with a variety of activities, two are of particular note: a Science Explorers program and Hometown Heroes Month. A Science Explorers program ties in with the library’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Discovery Club.

July will be Hometown Hero Month, and children can pick up a special kit for it. Basile said that a scavenger hunt and Hometown Hero Day focuses on those who help others such as police officers, firemen and ambulance personnel. During Super Hero Week, children will be encouraged to be heroes themselves by volunteering in the community.

The summer will also feature a Steven Courtney concert. The reading program will culminate with an end of the summer party on August 5 for those who complete their reading logs. Everyone is invited to a super hero move night on Friday, Aug. 7.

Basile said that the number of participants in the summer reading program is pretty steady from year-to-year, we usually have about 825 children and 100 adults participating. Last year 527 children and about 30 adults completed the program.

She urges all children to participate in the program.

“Remember, real heroes read all summer long so they go back to school ready to learn,” Basile said.

Cailey Greenawald (right) paints a super hero logo on Amelia Kingsbury’s hand.

Cailey Greenawald (right) paints a super hero logo on Amelia Kingsbury’s hand.

Information provided by Cathy Gust, Manheim Central School District early childhood liaison coordinator, indicates that elementary students who participated in the summer reading program last year did return to school with improved reading skills. Of the 259 students in the district’s three elementary schools who participated in the 2014 summer reading program, 211 or 82 percent, maintained or grew their reading level by one or two levels. For those who did not attend the program, 50 percent maintained or grew their reading level.

Gust explained that students’ reading level at the end of the 2013-14 school year was compared to that of their reading level at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. She noted that this was the first time that the data was analyzed, and she intends to do a similar study this year.

For more information about the Manheim Community Library’s summer reading program visit manheimlibrary.org, the library’s Facebook page, or call 665-6700.

Correspondent Rochelle Shenk welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

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