Kiddies search for piggies at local businesses
18 placed around the parish, redeem for prizes
St. Charles Parish libraries have hidden 18 pigs - mascots for their young summer reading program - in local businesses to promote reading in the parish. Kids who find the mascots can bring them to any library branch for a prize.
The libraries have already kicked off their summer reading programs, but it’s not too late to join in on the fun.
This year’s program for teens and “tweens” is revamped from previous years and will offer a lot of new and exciting activities for participants. The younger program for ages 2-12 also has some exciting events planned that will keep kids ahead of the curve for their age group.
The teen and “tween” program has changed this year with all-new activities and options to keep participants interested.
“Usually we get a lot of people signing up, but not a lot finishing,” said Amy Boling, program coordinator. “We’re trying it a little differently this year to try to give them something more fun and that they can accomplish.”
During the “Catch the Wave”-themed program, teens can earn stickers that are cashed in for prizes. But this year students can get stickers for activities other than reading.
“We’re giving them options of things to do, rather than saying they can just read a book,” Boling said. “They have to read a certain number of hours or books, but we also allow them to attend programs and turn in book reviews to earn points.”
This is the first year that additional programs and book reviews have been incorporated into the program. The line-up includes a magic workshop, Polynesian dance lessons, a song-writing workshop and a Harry Potter-themed lock-in.
“We’ve never tried a lock-in before…the staff seem really excited about it though,” Boling said. “I think it’s going to be great - we’re turning the library into Harry Potter World.”
Boling said the library added the new programs and activities to try to draw in as many teens as they could.
“If we can get them into the library to attend a program, then we can present them with different types of books that maybe they haven’t seen before,” she said. “Our main goal is to get kids reading and we’ll do that any way we can.
“If you’ve considered it in the past, give it a try this year. It’s going to be more fun and simple than in past years.”
For kids under 12, the library’s summer program will give them a chance to get ahead before going back to school this fall.
Marci Saucier, head of the program, said that research shows that reading over the summer is extremely beneficial for children.
“There’s a lot of literature documenting the benefits for children to continue reading over the summer,” Saucier said. “When they get back to school, they are so much more ahead because they’ve been reading all summer.
During the program, kids have the chance to log their reading hours and earn a certificate.
This year’s theme is “Down on the Farm” and every child in the parish can participate by searching for 18 library mascots, a pink pig, in businesses throughout the area. Finders of the pigs can return them to any library branch and receive a prize.
Saucier said the program has something for everyone this year, from all different types of books to library performances and computer games.
“It offers free entertainment for the summer and it’s educational because it does keep them interested in books and reading,” she said. “If they’re interested in sharks or dinosaurs, they can read about sharks and dinosaurs - we have something for everybody, whatever their interests are.”
Performances during this summer’s program include dancers, magicians and musicians. Activities will include a rock climbing wall, arts and crafts, games and storytimes.
With advances in technology and children being able to use computers at surprisingly young ages, Saucier said that learning to read is just as important as ever.
“You have to be able to read to use a computer - you pick up meanings and definitions from reading that you can use when you try to communicate on a computer,” she said.
For those kids who are more interested in technology than reading, Saucier said that children’s computers are available with educational games at every library branch.
Saucier said that the summer program is even good for those kids who cannot yet read.
“The program affects children who read and children who are read to,” she said. “We want everybody to get the benefit of it.”
Children who are read to by adults can still earn stickers that are used towards prizes in the program.
For more information on these programs, visit www.stcharles.lib.la.us.
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