(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
"All of the stories we'll be reading go along with our theme," said Ann Thompson, Sikeston Public Library children's librarian. "This year's statewide theme is 'Laugh It Up' so we relate it to our activities and the stories we read."
This year the Sikeston Library is doing things a little different, Thompson said. Due to an overwhelming response in attendance, they're breaking the children into groups. Day care groups are scheduled for different times than the general public and approximately 60 students will be allowed in each group, she added.
Jessica Chinnadurai attended the summer reading program at Sikeston when she was younger, and now the 12-year-old is a helper at the library.
"It's really a lot of fun for the kids," said Chinnadurai, who helps with the preschool children.
Chinnadurai's role as helper began last year when Chinnadurai needed 15 hours of babysitting service for her Girl Scouts troop. Since she's known Thompson for years, Chinnadurai decided she'd rather read to kids and help at the library than babysit the old-fashioned way.
Once a month on Monday nights, Chinnadurai reads to children and then they perform an activity. A similar format follows in the summer, she said.
"In the summer, we also do puppet shows of farm animals and I think the smaller kids really liked that. Last year, we did it and they were laughing. I think it was their favorite thing," Chinnadurai said.
This summer children entering grades k-2, will be reading "Ted" by Toni Ditterlizzi, a funny story about a big raspberry-colored, fun-loving, trouble-making imaginary friend, Thompson said. They'll also read "Amelia Bedilia and the Surprise Shower" and other stories.
"One week the theme is 'Doggone Fun at the Library' and we'll be reading stories, making dog bone magnets, eating dog biscuit cookies," Thompson said. "The kids will visit with animals from the animal shelter."
Students entering grades 3-5 will read stories about "Ribsy," a funny dog that belongs to Henry Huggins, a character in books by Beverly Cleary. Children will be making a mural of their story as they read through the chapters and individual craft activities.
At the grand finale of the program, a summer reading party, which will be July 21, will round out the program, Thompson said.
"The whole idea around the summer program is to keep children reading, but make it an enjoyable experience," Thompson noted.
Libraries in New Madrid and Mississippi counties are also using the state library's theme this summer.
Martha Hunter of the New Madrid County branch in New Madrid said the summer reading program is always a hit with children.
"Melissia Pullum, our facilitator, keeps the kids interested and every year she makes up new props for the program. She's just excellent," Hunter said.
In New Madrid County, the following "Laugh It Up" themes will be addressed during the four-week program: "The Funny Thing Is, You Won't Believe It," "Funny People," "Funny Foods You Can Eat" and "Funny Hats: Make and Take."
And over at the Mississippi County Library in Charleston, a magician will show young readers tricks as well as incorporate the importance of reading at 2 p.m. every Wednesday in July.
Registration is required for both Sikeston and New Madrid County Libraries. They will begin accepting phone reservations after June 2.
Sikeston Public Library
When and who: June 23-July 21
Monday - entering grades k-2 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. (begins June 23)
Tuesday - grades 3-5 day care groups from 10-11 a.m.; entering grades 3-5 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. (begins June 24)
Wednesday - Preschool story time at 10 a.m.; grades k-2 day care groups from 1:30-2:30 p.m. (begins June 25)
To sign up: Call 471- 4140
New Madrid County Libraries
When and where: June 27-July 31
Tuesday - Morehouse 1 p.m.; Matthews 3 p.m. (begins July 1)
Thursday - New Madrid 1 p.m.; Portageville 3 p.m. (begins July 3) Friday - Risco 1 p.m.; Gideon 3 p.m. (begins June 27) Who: children 5-12
To sign up: Call 748-2378
Mississippi County Library
When and Where: July 2-30 at Charleston
Wednesdays - Young children's story hour at 10 a.m.; magic show at 2 p.m.
Who: children kindergarten and up
To sign up: Registration is not required, but for more information, call 683-6748.