Parents, is the panic setting in yet? It’s coming, you know. Whether you want it to or not. Summer is nearly upon us, and that means days upon days of the kids being home is nearly upon us, as well. Camps are expensive, they can’t play outdoors ALL of the time, and we’ve only got so many tricks in our parental pockets to keep them occupied. Not to mention the fact that we don’t want their little brains dwindling and diminishing with each school-free day that passes. Fear not – there is a simple, cost-free solution to keep the kids happily occupied, their brains alive, and you . . . . sane.
Take advantage of the Cranford Public Library this summer. Even the most begrudging reader usually delights in the atmosphere of the colorful, inviting children’s room of the library. At 224 Walnut Avenue, it’s in the heart of town, directly attached to the Rec Center, and with plenty of parking. If the kids are old enough, they can walk or bike there with friends, and you can have a break. Effective Monday, June 3, 2013, the library hours will be Monday to Wednesday, 10 AM to 9 PM Thursday and Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM.
Wait – what’s that? Are you . . . . laughing? Ah . . . you can’t imagine your child willingly taking the time from summer play to WANT to read? Again – fear not. The library offers plenty of incentive programs to get kids to want to read, thanks to a variety of things offered through The Friends of the Cranford Public Library.
Children old enough to read or to be read to are invited to “Dig into Reading” this summer. That’s the theme of this year’s Children’s Summer Reading Program, which puts children in competition with themselves to increase their reading time. Registration begins on Monday, June 17, and the program runs until August 14, 2013. All children who live in Cranford or attend school full-time in Cranford are eligible. Registration must be done in person, where children will receive information, instruction, and recording materials. Children are encouraged to report the amount of time they have read each week so that they can receive weekly prizes. For every five hours a child reads or listens, he or she will receive a ticket to be used at the carnival which is to be held at the conclusion of the program as a culminating congratulations to readers. The summer reading program will also feature a series of special family programs.
From June 17, 2013 to June 22, a children’s used book sale will take place in the Raddin Room. All types of children’s used books, as well as other materials, will be available for purchase, with the proceeds going toward the end of summer annual Summer Reading Carnival, as well as the purchase of new materials for the Children’s Department. The sale will be held from 10 AM to half an hour before closing. For more information, please call the Children’s Department, (908) 709-7272 X 2103. It’s another fun, inexpensive way to get kids excited about reading, and happy to bring home a book that’s all theirs. (Pay attention, teachers! This can also be a great opportunity for you to pick up some great, inexpensive materials for your classrooms!!!)
Have a reluctant, or self-critical reader? How’s this for an awesome solution? Children who would like to read to a welcoming, non-critical audience are invited to sign up to read to a therapy dog (and trainer). The program will be held on the second Tuesday evening of each month at 6:30 PM in the Children’s Room. Registration is ongoing in the Children’s Department. Studies have shown that reading to dogs can increase reading skill and self-confidence. The next session will be held on June 11, 2013 at 6:30 PM in the Raddin Room. Kids get SO excited about reading to these docile fuzzy friends!
The library is also trying to make parents aware of a new resource. Pebble Go is a children’s discovery database, suited for pre-K through 4th grade. Once on, the choices are Animals, Earth and Space, Biographies, and Social Sciences. To access Pebble Go, go to http://www.pebblego.com/login.php , and then use “cranford” for the user name and “learn” for the password.
So, the summer might not be so ominous after all. The public library is the perfect way to incorporate reading into your child’s fun-filled summer, and it’s a fabulous parenting resource. And, hey, while you’re there with your kids, why not pick up something for yourself to read on the beach? There’s no better way to foster a love of reading in your child than to show them that YOU love to read, as well.