Children flocked to the Blount County Public Library on Saturday, June 5, to be pirates, see balloon crocodiles and see a booty of books at the “Make a Splash, Read” summer reading program.
The theme for the three-hour kick-off event was “High Seas Adventure,” which offered children a variety of activities to get them excited about summer reading and books.
Kate Clabough, assistant children’s librarian, said many of the children came dressed in costumes. “We had something we call Pirates Cove where they could play in a pirate’s ship,” said Clabough. “They used recycled cans to make an Octopus Garden and there was a ‘Crocodile Pool’ that was filled with packing peanuts. Oh my gosh, they had fun with those peanuts after we were done!”
The children participated in “Oceans of Fun and Crafts,” did pirate face painting with “Faces Gone Wild” and enjoyed a show by balloon artist Mark DeVerges from Asheville, N.C. “It was audience participation and he made a 12-foot long crocodile out of 300 balloons,” she said. “At noon the kids ate at ‘The Captain’s Table,’ which means they eat pizza from Papa John’s.”
Clabough said about 300 children attended the kick-off for the summer reading program.
Then on June 12 children enjoyed the “Making Waves with Leonardo” program. “Leonardo entertained about 30 kids while singing and playing a guitar. He actually started doing this because he has a brother who has autism and Downs Syndrome he takes his program to schools and libraries. He does program on bullying and acceptance because he has a brother who struggled with these things,” Clabough said. “It was a very interactive program.”
Clabough said that at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 19, children are invited to see the “Make a Splash in the Past” with storyteller Wendal Wandell. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 26, magician Scott Humston will perform. Both acts are in the Sharon Lawson Room.
Clabough said children’s reading program is open to those youngsters who may be too young to read but still enjoy listening. “We do pre-readers as well as readers. Pre-readers sit on mommy’s lap, and she reads to them,” Clabough said. “We encourage reading in all age groups, even those who can’t read yet. It is all about laying a good foundation for readers.”
From June 5 through July 31, 2010, parents may register children for the summer reading program at the Children’s Library Desk (for children 10 years of age and younger), and request a sign-up sheet, program guidelines and program schedule. The Children’s Library phone number is 865-273-1414 if there are questions.
When children sign up, they receive a Reading Club book bag, bookmarker, summer schedule of events, a game board, reading log book list page and reading guidelines so children understand how to record the titles of the books they read on their list for their own reading diary.
Set up similar to a bingo card, each time a child completes a line on their Reading Club Game Board, they earn pencils, bookmarkers and stickers and their names are entered for the grand prize drawing. A librarian officially stamps each child’s game board to show their reading progress. When they complete it, they receive a reading certificate and then get to select a prize from the Treasure Chest.
As part of the summer reading program, the Blount County Public Library offers free activities, events or speakers each Saturday in June and July. The Blount County Friends of the Library sponsor the prizes and events for the children’s summer reading program.