The SouthShore Regional Library is planning some special fun for kids this summer to engage their brains after school lets out.
Children’s librarian Michelle Weinstein and a host of cool performers will participate in “Dig into Reading,” a weekly series of nine fascinating subjects intended to motivate and entertain kids in grades kindergarten through fifth.
Each session includes a book reading that connects to a hands-on craft project, plus interactive games, Q&As or other stimulating activities. And sometimes, especially during the summer, guest entertainment is included.
For example, the library’s Spring Break Program recently wrapped with Celebrate Earth Day, where about 30 children from kindergarten through fourth grade discussed the three Rs of conserving resources: reduce, recycle and reuse. Weinstein read Marc Brown’s “Arthur Turns Green,” which tackles the concept of home energy conservation in a spooky, mystery-like way. And then the children made a globe encircled in hands with words of unity, harmony, friendship and love, which they all needed to have for the Earth and each other.
Even adults like what they see.
“These programs are awesome, educational and fun,” said Juanita Smith of Apollo Beach, noting that her 7-year-old son, Steven, seems fully engaged. “We’ve been to four in a row now.”
Virginia Jennings of Balm agrees.
“The scope of the programs is terrific,” she said. “My grandchildren love them. We’re here most Saturdays and all through the summer.”
The summer reading series will begin June 11, when Mad Science will present Planets & Moons at 1 and 2:15 p.m. The series ends with an ice cream social on Aug. 10 at 2:30.
The series will include the following and more:
The sessions are every Tuesday at 1 and 2:15 p.m. at 15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin. There will be additional librarian-led Dig into Reading sessions on Wednesdays at 2 from June 19 to Aug. 7.
“There’s something about these programs that reach children in a way that makes them want to continue reading and return for more books,” Weinstein said. “Our goal is to create lifelong learners.”
Weinstein, who recently received the Library Staff Member of the Year Award from the Friends of the Hillsborough County Library, said children’s program attendance at SouthShore Regional has grown annually – sometimes as much as 13 percent.
Last year, she presented 509 free programs, which were attended by 14,533 children and parents. All related expenses – roughly $10,000 – are covered by the Friends of the SouthShore Regional Library.
“Michelle’s programs are extremely popular,” said Jim Duffy, SouthShore Friends president. “She’s able to put on a high volume, while keeping the quality high and the subject matter entertaining for kids – and their parents.”
Dig into Reading will be added to the library’s regular daily programming for preschool kids and parents during the summer. There will also be a full array of children’s art classes, including drawing, painting, T-shirt design, cartooning and more by teachers Laurie Burhop, Tim Gibbons, Leah Lopez, Margit Redlawsk and Cory Wright.
For additional information, call (813) 273-3652.