From Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster to the Abominable Snowman, sixth and seventh graders attending Sikeston Middle School's summer school session are learning about the different creatures through Sikeston Public Library's first outreach summer reading program.
Throughout the four-week summer school session, which began Monday, students will read "Sasquatch" by Roland Smith. Every day students read a chapter of the book and do an activity, crafts or games related to the story.
"We're thrilled (about the outreach)," middle school teacher Carolyn Pike said. "We love the help and the fact they're able to help us with the story and provide the extra things we don't have the money for. It has made a difference."
Earlier this year Sikeston Public Library was awarded a grant through Missouri State Library Association for summer reading outreach programming in the amount of $7,902.
"Missouri made this grant available to reach the children that do not have the opportunity to come to the library and to increase usage in the library," said Ann Thompson, children's librarian at Sikeston Public Library.
The only other library in Southeast Missouri to receive the grant was Riverside Regional Library in Cape Girardeau, Thompson said.
To use the grant, the library partnered with Sikeston Middle School, Mission Missouri and YMCA of Southeast Missouri.
Next week the library will begin visiting Mission Missouri, which offers two four-week summer camps. There will be 90-minute library outreach sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout August.
From June 26 through Aug. 7, YMCA of Southeast Missouri day campers in grades K-2 will visit the library on Monday mornings while those in grades 3
-5 will visit Tuesday mornings as part of the library's outreach program, Thompson said.
"It's a new experience for us as well as for the teachers," Thompson said. "I'm very excited about it."
Outreach staff member Amanda Noyse said she's enjoying assisting with the program.
"It's been a lot of fun so far," Noyse said. "The students and teachers are very excited about coming, and the kids have been receptive to the lessons."
In addition to Noyse, the library's summer outreach team includes staff members Jessica Chinnadurai, Katie Marsh and Ashley Taylor; and volunteer Amber Vaught.
Thompson said the outreach team and Sikeston R-6 teachers began in May preparing lesson plans for summer school session. The team works with six groups of students -- a total of 115 students during two sessions from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Monday through Friday.
"Our goal is, for all these children we're outreaching, to bring them into the 'Creature Feature' (teen summer reading program) at the library on Wednesday afternoons," Thompson said.
The outreach makes regular summer school different because it provides more hands-on activities and snacks for the students, Pike said.
"It's not sit and read, and do assignments," the teacher added. "We do additional hands-on activities in regular summer school, but they've never been to the extent of what the library is offering. It's an added bonus for us."
And, hopefully, the outreach will get the students into the library, too, and get them to read in the summer, Pike said.
Kelli Murphy, 12, said she is considering attending the library's teen summer reading program later this month. She said she likes the outreach so far because it's different than the regular school year or regular summer session.
"We read out loud and do projects like this," Kelli said. "It's fun."