A summer staple of libraries across the country is underway in Wylie at the Smith Public Library.
The annual summer reading program began Monday, May 22, at the library with activities and challenges designed for children, teens and adults. The program runs through August 5 with a special summer kickoff in conjunction with the Wylie Recreation Center Friday, June 2.
This year’s theme for summer reading is “All Together Now” for younger readers with the adult theme of “Better Together,” focused on highlighting the importance of treating one another with respect and inclusivity. As part of the adult program, there will be weekly kindness challenges from June 12-July 31 where participants can record three acts of kindness over the period and enter to win a gift card from a local restaurant.
At the summer kick-off, there will be story trains on the trails behind the Municipal Complex, In-N-Out’s burger truck and a foam bubble party among several planned activities. The kickoff runs from 9 to 11:45 a.m.
Near the end of the summer reading program, there will be the annual Harry Potter-themed party complete with a sorting hat, wand making and a costume contest. The party will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, July 28, and is designed for attendees of all ages.
Library Director Ofilia Barrera said the Harry Potter event is “the most wonderful day of the year.”
“It’s so fun to see all the kids come in costume,” Barrera said. “In the last several years, the parents have really gotten into it too, so we’ve had a lot of professors or other adult characters represented, which has been really fun.”
For the program itself, children can log 10 hours of reading or complete 25 books to earn a free book and enter for a chance to win one of the grand prizes. The grand prizes for children are a Nintendo Switch Lite handheld console and game gift card, a pretzel the dog prize pack and a family entry for six to In-Sync Exotics.
Teens, which are classified as students entering seventh through twelfth grades, can fulfill the same criteria to enter for a chance to win an anime and manga prize pack, entertainment choice prize pack and a collector edition book free-for-all. Adults over 18 years old must read three young adult or higher rated books to win a canvas zip pouch for the first completion and a chance to win a theater and snack package, spa and relaxation package or games and snack package.
Barrera said reading over the summer helps prevent the “summer slide” in children where they are prone to losing learned material over summer months because of a lack of educational activities.
“The best way to keep your brain active and working is reading,” Barrera said. “Kids need a break too, but if you can keep them engaged and reading, or even coming to summer programs, all of those programs have an educational component. Our number one goal is keeping kids and adults engaged and thinking.”
For the full story, see the May 24 issue of The Wylie News.