There’s a party going on at the Williams Lake Library activity room this summer complete with festive ribbons and pinatas, a star tunnel, and rocket launcher photo booth.
It’s all part of the set Katherine Goertz-Sheppard has created for the library’s Summer Reading Club to help kids keep in touch with reading while having fun over the summer holidays.
Katherine and her husband, John Sheppard, who is working for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, are university students working in the lakecity for the summer.
Katherine is one semester short of completing an honours degree in English at the University of Victoria. John has finished his degree in history and psychology. They both plan to further their educations to become elementary school teachers. In between their university studies, Katherine says they took some time out to serve in Niger with the Christian Missionary Alliance.
Katherine is originally from Salmon Arm and has some relatives here. John grew up in Williams Lake and has family here.
Katherine credits the power of the internet for the interesting displays, posters and activities she has developed for the Summer Reading Club but says she is no artist.
“My mom’s an artist,” Katherine says. “I’m more crafty than arty.”
The Summer Reading Club program is sponsored by the B.C. Library Association and pubic libraries throughout the province.
The free program for children ages three to 12 began at the Williams Lake Library July 7. While some classes are already full, Katherine says there are still lots of spaces available.
Registered Summer Reading Club members receive a special reading kit with a booklet in which to keep track of their reading over the summer, or in the case of younger children what their parents or caretakers may read to them.
In addition to the booklet the reading kit includes bookmarks, posters and stickers. A reading suggestion list is provided along with a display of books available in the library that will change each week to match that particular week’s theme.
The library sessions will include a variety of fun activities, crafts, and story-times based on the theme “Build it.”
Katherine says they will usually start with a story that she will read, or one of the older children may read, followed by an activity or game such as people bingo, and then they will make a craft to take home.
The activities, stories and crafts will relate to each week’s theme: build the future; build your story; build it yourself; build to last; build your imagination; build for fun; and build a mystery.
Katherine has some fun craft ideas she has found include building a space rocket pack out of large pop bottles which she will have the older children make.
The younger children will decorate robot costumes which she made this spring and had some children embellish for the Summer Reading Club’s entry in the Daybreak Rotary Stampede Parade.
In building their stories children may use collage, and up-cycling of old books, plus words and writing to tell their stories.
She’s also got plans for making paper bag houses, popsicle stick bird houses, and towers made from dry spaghetti and marshmallows. They may also build creatures out of plasticine, sparkles and pipe cleaners and build crafts based on the Minecraft video game.
Other activities such as sending a secret invisible message (until the paper is warmed), a scavenger hunt with hidden clues, making a cellophane magnifying glass, and puppet play.
Children can attend one free session per week and even if they are on vacation for a while and miss a session or two they can still keep reading on their own or with an adult, keeping track in their log book.
Each week Katherine says she will put all of the names of the children who have read for 10 minutes a day into a draw box for a small toy prize.
And at the end of the seven week program every child who has read for 10 minutes a day receives a medal. And at the end of the seven weeks all the children will be invited to a party to wrap up their summer reading adventures.
Katherine has been working since May planning the program and in June visiting schools. She, along with the other library staff will be available to help children find suitable materials, whether it’s a print book, audiobook, e-book, magazine or any combination of items.
The Summer Reading Club is designed to motivate children to read regularly (or be read to), and to help children maintain or improve reading skills while school is out. To register call 250-392-3630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.