The 2018 Summer Reading program will offer exciting prizes that live up to the “Reading Rocks” theme.
Two grand prize winners will win tickets for them and a guest to attend Taylor Swift’s Indianapolis show on Sept. 15 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Hotel accommodations provided by Edgerton Travel are included as well. A third grand prize winner will win a Nintendo Switch. In addition to the grand prizes kids and teens will have a chance to win other prizes – including Elkhart County 4-H Fair wristbands and ukuleles.
Summer Reading begins May 21 at all locations and ElkhartRocks.com.
There will be plenty of fun activities at all EPL branches around the summer reading program including karaoke, live music, crafts and more.
According to Children’s Librarian Chuck Pieri, summer reading is important for young readers to avoid the ‘summer slide,’ that loss of knowledge that occurs over the long summer break from school.
“Reading every day is an important part of education and brain development and kids sometimes read less in the summer, so this will give them an incentive,” Pieri said.
Summer reading will kick off with Eric Litwin’s appearance at Elkhart Community Schools May 15-17 and culminate with a celebration and awarding of the Taylor Swift prize packs on Thursday, July 19 at the Pierre Moran branch.
Kids and teens can participate in summer reading by reading as many books as they can. To enter the grand prize drawings they can submit a written or video book review as often as every week.
To encourage reading every day, kids will also have the chance to track their reading progress with reading chains. Earn a bead for every day you read!
According to Children’s Librarian Allison McLean, summer reading is a win-win because it allows to kids to read what they want while still keeping up on their literacy skills.
“When kids have a choice of what they want to read, they read more and are more excited about it. Summer is a great time to read whatever you want just for the fun and joy of reading,” she said.
Keeping children engaged in reading is an important part of developing a lifelong love of reading to continue development and education.
The grand prizes and fun activities are sure to make this summer one to remember.
“It’s going to be a rockin’ summer,” said Pieri.
For music teacher and performer Jeanie Bratschie, it’s all about sharing her love of music with children.
Bratschie, who performs under the name Jeanie B., will host two shows on June 6, at 4 p.m. at the Dunlap Branch and at 6 p.m. downtown.
Bratschie said she has been performing since she was 15 years old and became a children’s performer in 2003.
“I fell in love with the whole concept and the first time I performed for a class I said ‘this is it, this is the job for me,'” she said.
Bratschie said that the excitement and energy from her audiences is her favorite part of performing.
“I love the smiles on the kids faces and I love the pure joy that I elicit from children,” she said.
“I love the part of engaging children with music and teaching kids through music.”
She said she spends the school year teaching music in Evanston, Ill. as well as working at inner city Chicago schools to bring music education to schools without music programs. Bratschie said she is currently working inside of five schools.
During the summers she hits the road and performs at libraries and schools.
“My library show will often have songs about reading and interactive songs about books and reading,” Bratschie said.
“I try to entertain and educate while letting children have lots of fun and interact with the music.”
She said that she keeps her shows high-energy by making them as interactive as possible, with lots of movement and participation.
“It’s all interactive music, there’s very little sitting and listening to music, I like to keep kids moving,” she said.
Bratschie said that she has a new album out called “I Love Music.” For more information visit her website www.jeaniebmusic.com.
Get hands on with robots during a special program at the downtown library.
At 5 p.m. on Monday, June 4, children will be able to build and play with an assortment of small robots from the Indiana State Library at the downtown EPL branch.
Robots including LEGO Wedo, Cubelets, Sphero Spark and more. Build and play with a variety of robots and learn about the great world of science and robotics.
The Indiana State Library loans out robot kits to libraries around the state, so this is a rare chance to get hands on with a variety of small robots in one setting.
Barney the St. Bernard is riding off into the sunset and we’re having a party to celebrate him!
The trained dog, who helps kids gain confidence in their reading, is retiring and we’re hosting a retirement open house for all his friends and reading partners to come back and celebrate him.
From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 19 at the downtown library, join us for treats and a chance to say good bye to Barney and maybe read him one last story.
There’s no need to register for a session this time, it is an open house event.
“The kids get to interact with something that loves unconditionally. He’s just a good listener – he absorbs every word and he doesn’t interrupt or correct or question them,” handler Renee Langdon says. “I’ve been blessed to be able to work with him and watch the children improve.”
Barney’s journey to become a therapy dog was difficult. Langdon rescued him eight years ago after he was abandoned near Wakarusa. He already was blind and had leg injuries consistent with abuse, she says.
“He had to learn to trust again,” Langdon says. “He couldn’t walk on a leash. You couldn’t put him in a car. The injuries to his front left leg weren’t anything that couldn’t be repaired, but it was a rough start.”
He eventually defeated his fears and became a good companion to Drew, Langdon’s first St. Bernard. Despite his blindness, Barney eventually passed the same exam required for certification as a registered Pet Partners therapy dog.
Pet-assistance therapy goes beyond guide dogs. They provide comfort at hospital entrances, Langdon says, and companionship at nursing homes. They have visited schools and libraries regularly, too.
Langdon has committed her volunteer time for years to working with children, particularly those challenged by autism or disability. She worked with Reins of Life for therapeutic horseback riding until, physically, she couldn’t meet the demands of mucking stalls and hauling hay bales.
She says she adopted a St. Bernard because she always wanted one growing up. During her first three years, Langdon volunteered several hours each week making visits. After Drew passed on and with Barney advancing in years, she’s had to scale back to schedule.
“I think this is best described as giving and receiving love. Barney takes it in and he dishes it out – it’s his job to love,” Langdon says.
For those wanting to participate in summer reading but are traveling or just too busy to make it to a library branch for a book, there’s another way.
OverDrive, the ebook and audiobook provider, has some recommended books for young readers as part of their OverDrive Summer Read program beginning June 6. Access OverDrive through MyEpl.org or by downloading their app and entering your library card information.
The books are available for free for library users using their library card or a student ecard. This way there’s nothing to return and plenty of great books to read.
According to OverDrive the books are a collection for juvenile readers, which skew younger and a collection for young adults. The books should appeal to boys and girls.
The juvenile collection includes a book about Spongebob Squarepants, a book from The Last Airbender universe, Modo, who appeared in the The Hunchback Assignments and more.
The young adult collection, for middle and high school readers, includes a book about a tree that reveals hidden truths, a book about a vanished mother, another about a mysterious camp and more.
Reading Rocks this summer and there are great prizes, such as Taylor Swift concert tickets or a Nintendo Switch up for grabs but reading is the only way to enter to win.
With OverDrive, that won’t be an issue, offering plenty of titles right at young fingertips so that a book is just a click away.