Library seeks to make reading fun

Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sitting on carpet squares in the North Suffolk library, a dozen preschool children listened with fascination as a story unfolded of a mouse searching for a safe hiding place for his strawberry.

The mouse had his won strawberry and needed to hide it from a supposed hungry bear.

“Where’s he going to hide it?” a little girl asked another.

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“Under a table!” one little girl exclaimed.

The children were listening to a reading of the children’s classic, “The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear.” Throughout the summer, Suffolk libraries have been hosting series of storytelling times for toddlers and preschoolers to help create a passion for reading.

“This is when we can make reading really exciting, and we can hook them on books,” said Julie Darnell, public services manager for the North Suffolk library. “If we get them reading early, then they’re better prepared for school.”

Darnell said that attendance at the storytelling times has been up from last year. She added that libraries across the city have been working to create special events on Wednesdays throughout the summer that will connect children to reading in new and fun ways.

Magicians, musicians and special performers have visited the city’s libraries, and each has had a unique way of connecting his or her craft to reading.

“We bring in these performers to help get kids excited about reading and get them into the library,” Darnell said. “They have some storytelling time, where they can share, ‘I learned magic from a book I read,’ and that gets kids interested.”

The library system also has set up reading programs for children, teenagers and adults throughout the summer. Children are asked to read 20 minutes a day for 50 days during the summer, and if they do, they will earn a special certificate and prizes for completing their reading logs.

Teenagers and adults are asked to write book reviews on books chosen from assigned reading lists. Reviews are then randomly selected from all that are turned in, and the winners receive prizes.

“It helps create lovers of reading,” Darnell said. “Our goal as a whole is to continue to keep the excitement high for reading.”

For more information about the library reading programs, call 514-7150.