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Libraries Rock! Summer Reading program runs through Aug. 11

June 6, 2018
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Libraries Rock! summer reading program kicked off earlier this week with the Lee County Library System.

Youth Services Coordinator Amy Jane McWilliam said the theme Libraries Rock! has incorporated a little bit of a music twist into the programming, which also focuses on the wonderful things the library does for the community.

"We want to promote and encourage the love of reading. During the school year children are tired and the library tends to compete with other activities, like sports. It's hard to capture the interest of kids because they are so overwhelmed with everything going on," she said. "During the summer parents are more relaxed. This is the opportunity that we can get them. They are reading for just the enjoyment of it."

The summer reading program is also important because it prevents the "summer slide."

"Children that don't read through the summer actually go back to school and score lower on tests," McWilliam said, adding that they loose some academic achievements they made the previous year.

The summer reading program kicked off May 29 and will run through Aug. 11 featuring weekly programs to grab the youngsters curiosity.

"Each week there will be special events at all the libraries," McWilliam said, adding that there will be book displays tied into those special events.

Although all of the programs are free, some require registration, which opens a week prior to the program. Individuals can register online, call the library branch, or visit the library.

One of the kindergarten through fifth grade programs offered at East County Regional Library is a "Rockin' Magic Show" from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday, June 19. Joey, Alexandra and Sydney (live Eclectus parrot) will take audience members on an adventure featuring comedy, magic, music and interaction with the audience.

The July programs are also designed to attract the kindergarten through fifth grade students with such programs as "Science of Sound with DoDad's Lab" from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday, July 10. Youngsters will learn volume, pitch and wave through exciting activities.

"Stranger Things Escape Room" from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 13 is for fifth through twelfth grade students who are interested in racing against the clock solving puzzles and clues to escape the upside down.

The popular program with John Storms: World of Reptiles from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, is one that sparks the youngsters curiosity due to him bringing in lizards, snakes and alligators - only for the children to look at and not touch.

"He talks about their habitat and what they eat. It's a lot of fun and high energy," she said.

The summer reading program also features activities for teenagers, one of which is "Rock Art Garden at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 11. The fifth through twelfth grade program will have participants paint rocks that resemble cacti, or flowers.

"We do put a lot of focus and effort into our k-12 programs," McWilliam said.

The library also features family storytime to engage those 0 to 5 years old.

"We get a lot of teachers that bring their babies over the summer," McWilliam said.

The summer reading programs are important McWilliam said because they want youngsters to enjoy reading and become lifelong learners.

"That doesn't sound very thrilling to the kids. That's why we offer the events," she said.

In addition to the six weeks of programming, McWilliam encourages everyone to visit their library and receive a free book while supplies last through Aug. 11. She said they have books for ages 0 to 18 years old . . . board books, picture books, early readers, novels, graphic novels and Sci-Fi graphics.

"We've been getting a lot of good feedback. We are really happy," McWilliam said about the selection of books staff took time creating.

Due to grant money, she said they were able to receive special pricing, giving them the opportunity to purchase tons of books. The books purchased are ones, she said that will "light up their faces."

"When kids sign up they can pick up a book and keep it forever," McWilliam said.

She said they have met a lot of families who share that they travel throughout the summer.

"They will have at least one book with them," McWilliam said.

There is also an adult component for the summer reading program, a Summer Reading Bingo that will help adults discover the different services and genres offered throughout the library. Folks 18 and older will receive a bingo card. Once the bingo card is completed they will be entered into a branch and systemwide drawing to win prizes.

To view a complete list of programs, visit

An estimated 10,000 children participate in the summer reading program every year.



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