Library to kick off summer reading program

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 15, 2016

 “DIA Away: Think Like an Artist” is an interactive classroom designed for people of all ages to explore.

“DIA Away: Think Like an Artist” is an interactive classroom designed for people of all ages to explore.

Photo provided by the Detroit Institute of Arts

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Books closed. Pencils down. 

School’s out for summer — almost — and the West Bloomfield Township Public Library is preparing to launch its annual summer reading program, designed to keep kids, and even adults, engaged throughout those months when information learned during the school year has a tendency to slide out of the brain. 

But curbing the “summer slide” takes more than reading and practicing math; it takes family engagement, which is why the summer reading program is open to people of all ages, according to Mary Killian, main library branch manager. 

The reading incentive program runs June 18-Sept. 2 and encourages kids to keep reading over the summer and caregivers to read to them. Anyone with a West Bloomfield Township Public Library card or who is a student enrolled in the West Bloomfield School District can register. Students who attend Keith, Pleasant Lake and Lone Pine elementary schools, or West Hills Middle School, can also join if they have a library card from their home library.

“It’s a different way of learning with family as the focus,” Killian said. 

Pre-registration is now available, and those interested can sign up anytime. Participants will receive an online account through which they track the time spent reading during the summer. Based on the number of hours read, people can earn free books at the end-of-the-summer book fair, according to Jill Bickford, coordinator for youth services. 

“If kids see parents reading, they realize it’s a fun activity and … it helps reinforce reading as a lifelong habit for recreation,” Killian said.

The summer challenge will once again return as part of keeping kids fresh during the long break. Through the challenge, kids and parents participate in a variety of activities — poetry writing, nature exploration, science projects — to earn virtual raffle tickets, or badges. At the end of summer, those who participated are entered into a drawing for prizes, such as fitness trackers, an iPad Mini and remote-control robots, Bickford said. Winners will be notified by Sept. 9.

For the first time, the library will host a summer challenge project fair 7-8:30 p.m. Aug. 25. Killian explained that kids can earn a badge by submitting a project they constructed based on a book they read. More information about the fair can be found on the library’s website.

Although pre-registration is open, the program doesn’t begin until the library kicks it off June 18. That day, families can head to the library to engage in a variety of activities 10 a.m.-4 p.m., including miniature golf, an arcade, an inflatable bounce house and obstacle course, face and body painting, human hamster balls, speed painting, and the Detroit Institute of Arts’ “DIA Away: Think Like an Artist” attraction.

“DIA Away” is a mobile interactive classroom for all ages. Killian said the library wanted to stress the importance of family engagement during the summer to avoid the summer slide, and the DIA’s learning lab does just that, as it provides a space for everyone to create and explore.

For more information about the summer reading program and the summer challenge, or for a list of library events, visit www.wblib.org.

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