Two reading programs this summer sought to entertain and educate local students, sparking an interest in reading and helping to avoid the “summer slide.”
West Polk Library
Over 30 local children have been enjoying a special reading program this summer at the new West Polk Public Library. For children from pre-K through 2nd grade, Amanda Stiles, program volunteer, has been conducting a 1-hour session each Wednesday morning which includes story time and a related activity. The theme for this summer’s reading program is “Fizz, Boom, Read!”, so all stories and activities are related to science or nature.
“Some of my favorite children’s books have science or nature themes, so it’s been fun to read these to the children and then give them an activity that teaches them more about the basic topics introduced in the books” said Mrs. Stiles.
For example, the first week of the program, the children read “It Looked Like Spilt Milk” by Charles Shaw which introduces the concept of surface tension. Then each child made their own “tie dye milk” with milk and blue dish washing liquid to further demonstrate the concept.
The fifth week, they read “Diary of a Worm” by Doreen Cronin, and “Wonderful Worms” by Linda Glaser. Afterwards, the children made their own earthworm habitats to take home. Using clear plastic containers with holes poked in the lids, they layered sand and dirt, watered it, then added food for the worms.
After placing the worms in their new habitats, they covered the outside with removable dark covers so the worms would crawl to the outside of the containers where the children could see them.
“The kids loved this activity” said Renee Maples who has been coming with her grandson to the program.
Other science and nature topics covered during the reading hours have included chemical reaction, rainbows and light, invisible messages, and fireflies. The children are also competing for prizes by earning points for reading books at home.
“We have some great prizes this year for the top readers” said Mrs. Stiles, “and all the children who complete a reading log will receive t-shirt and certificate at the end.”