Young readers follow their imaginations during summer reading program | CraigDailyPress.com

Young readers follow their imaginations during summer reading program

Moffat County Libraries' summer reading program runs through Aug. 22

Michael Neary

Jasmin Hershiser, a Sandrock Elementary School fifth-grader, and Christy Gonzales, Moffat County Library Services Supervisor, interview each other during a Youth Club session at the library’s Craig branch.





Jasmin Hershiser, a Sandrock Elementary School fifth-grader, and Christy Gonzales, Moffat County Library Services Supervisor, interview each other during a Youth Club session at the library's Craig branch.
Michael Neary

— For Rahab Villegas, the Moffat County Libraries' free summer reading program helps to create some motivation for reading, but it also helps to preserve what she calls the "paper touch": a kind of physical connection to the library.

"With all the technology, (children) are losing that paper touch," she said. "I think keeping in touch with the library is pretty important so we don't lose that."

Villegas is participating in the reading program, which extends to children and adults, with her 3-year-old daughter Isabella Vallem. The program began in May and runs through Aug. 22.

Library Services Supervisor Christy Gonzales said the program creates incentives to read books from the library or elsewhere.

"Really, we're just about the literacy and the reading," she said.

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The library is tapping into themes shared by libraries across the country, all surrounding wellness, fitness and sports. The children's theme is called, "On Your Mark, Get Set, Read." The teens' theme is "Get in the Game," and the adult theme is "Exercise Your Mind."

But Gonzales said those themes don't place any restrictions on the reading.

The summer reading program is offered at all of the three branches in Craig, Maybell and Dinosaur.

Other activities complement the reading program this summer. The Craig branch has begun a Youth Club for children 8 years old and up that meets at 3 p.m. Wednesdays during the summer, and participants need to be enrolled in the summer reading program to take part.

The Craig branch's story time also continues, with a meeting time from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursdays during the summer. The Dinosaur branch offers a story time from 2 to 3 p.m. Mondays. The branches also offer a weekly "boredom buster," a free activity that's often centered on crafts and drawing.

Gonzales also said that speakers related to the health and fitness reading program theme would be visiting the Craig branch during story times and Youth Club meetings.

Last Wednesday, the Youth Club in Craig explored the concepts of fiction and nonfiction with Gonzales and Assistant Librarian Tracy Spencer. They also talked about their reading habits in the summer — a time that gives them lots of freedom to follow their tastes, from wild fantasies to topics closer to home.

"I like to read about dirt bikes, and when I'm done reading about that I'll go and ride my dirt bike with my dad," said Levi Greenhow, who's going into sixth grade at Craig Middle School.

Levi's sister, Lydia Greenhow, likes to read about fashion.

"Sometimes they have really cool necklaces — and they're chapter books, so I get to learn a little bit more than I know right now," said Lydia, who's going into fourth grade at Ridgeview Elementary School.

The Greenhows were working at a table with their friend Carson Laehr, a Sunset Elementary School fifth-grader who likes the magic and the wizardry of the “Harry Potter” series.

Like Carson, some of the students in the library on Wednesday gravitated toward fantasy. For Jasmin Hershiser, a "made-up place, or a different dimension" is what kindles her imagination.

"My favorite book like that is ‘Harry Potter,’" said Jasmin, a fifth-grader at Sandrock Elementary School. "I've read all of them about 10 times."

Jasmin's brother, Sabastian Hershiser, also looks to made-up worlds for his reading. He said he likes medieval literature, along with Greek mythology and other literature with "a mix between medieval weapons and present technology."

Prizes for the reading program, some of which were donated by community business, are on display at the library. Teens and younger children receive folders, keep track of their reading and receive prizes after they've read designated amounts of pages. Adults can participate in a drawing for prizes.

Sherry Sampson, director of Moffat County Libraries, described the way the tenor of library life changes in the summer.

"It's recreational," she said. "It's not that the educational's not there, but we're not just about books. That's kind of the old way."

Sampson mentioned travelers who might be walking or biking through the state and stopping into the library to use a computer.

Gonzales noted the way that contact with the library, and particularly with the summer reading program, can help children stay sharp in the summer.

"It helps with the summer slide," Gonzales said. "We have a lot of teachers who say, 'I can tell the kids who did the summer reading program.'"

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or mneary@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.