The signs of a new school year approaching are everywhere this time of year. Registration is gearing up, school supply lists are being distributed and back-to-school sales are everywhere. At Delta County Libraries, the end of the children's summer reading program is another sign that summer break is almost over.
All across Delta County, in every library, the summer reading program has delivered a unique way to keep youth engaged in reading throughout the summer. The eight-week- long program began with a kick-off party in early June and wrapped up with a final party in late July. This year's theme "On Your Mark, Get Set...Read" set the tone for a summer of fun, creativity and, of course, reading.
One aspect of the program is the reading logs that are handed out to participants at registration to keep track of their time spent reading over the summer. Upon completion of the reading log, which tracks 15-minute increments totaling 10 hours, each participant can select a free book to take home.
Cedaredge parent Kalie Lindsay says the reading logs were a motivating factor for her children. "They spent time each day reading in order to fill their charts." Lindsay elaborates on some of her children's most memorable experiences. "I think that the opening party at the park with the hula hoops was definitely a highlight for them. When they got home that day, they pulled their hula hoops out and practiced for hours. The library did a fantastic job putting this program together!"
Crawford parent Toby Stephenson agrees with Lindsay about the value the program provides as well as the staff who deliver the program. Stephenson's two children did not miss a single week. "They love the library program and I love that they continue to want to read. They love coming to the Crawford Library where they know their librarians and the librarians make them feel special."
Along with hula hooping, other sessions included puppet shows, water games, outdoor survival skills, ball games and relay races. The final parties that took place at each library included fun activities and treats that were special to each location. In Hotchkiss, library manager Terry Johns put together a variety of bird-themed activities. Children moved from station to station taking turns building a birdhouse, making birdfeeders and binoculars and designing their own two-dimensional birdhouses to take home. The birdhouse kit, which was awarded to the Delta County Libraries as part of the "2016 Summer Learning and Fun Program in a Box" from the Colorado State Library, will now hang at the Hotchkiss Library permanently.
Johns feels that the 2016 summer reading program was a great success. "We had an amazing summer reading program this year. Over 300 children and parents in Hotchkiss alone participated in this year's program. It's always fun to see the enthusiasm the children have each week, as they come to the library for programs, and find those special books to check out and enjoy at home."
And, time spent reading at home throughout the summer makes going back to school that much easier in the fall. That is why the summer reading program will always be an essential part of the programing provided by Delta County Libraries.
Delta's second annual "Kickoff to Christmas" takes place Saturday, Nov. 25. This event is sponsored by the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce and First Colorado National Bank.