Colby Mielisch finished his summer reading program career with a bang. The Lanesboro Public Library gave him this sign for his great work. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Colby Mielisch finished his summer reading program career with a bang. The Lanesboro Public Library gave him this sign for his great work. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Summer brings a lot of changes. With no school, kids have more time on their hands to enjoy being outside, at the swimming pool, bike riding or any other numerous ways to have fun in the sun. Another way to spend time enjoying the summer is kicking back with a good book.
This summer, the Lanesboro Public Library encouraged youth in the area in the art of reading and identifying the types of stories and books they enjoyed in particular.
One new addition to the program was acknowledging champion readers who had exceeded expectations in the program.
"We had 46 kids sign up for the program and about a dozen families dedicated time to coming in each week. This is the first time we had done the champions. The kids this year did a great job and we thought there may be several that could be champion," said Library Director Tara Johnson.
The summer reading program lasted eight weeks for children 13 years old and younger, ending on Friday, Aug. 1. The number of books the child was supposed to read throughout the summer varied, depending upon the age of the child. Those young children not yet able to read were asked to look through 15 picture books. Slightly older children would go through seven easy reader books. Juvenile children were to read two books. And the oldest children advanced into one young adult book.
"The program has been going really well. We have had a huge increase in circulation because the kids are excited to participate in it," Johnson noted.
The library staff helped the children identify what interests they had and went from there to provide books for them. What made the program so exciting for Johnson was witnessing a child's transition from one category to the next.
"It's exciting to watch growth and maturity develop in their reading," Johnson stated. "It's really fun to see when the kids come, knowing what they want to read, and pick out their own books."
That is exactly what the champions did.
Young Grant Horihan, son of Creighton and Silke Horihan and Colby Miehlisch, son of Jork and Sue Miehlisch became the first champion readers from the summer reading program.
"Grant is about seven years old and was working with picture books at the beginning of the summer. But then he moved into chapter books," Johnson stated. "Colby is 13 and this is his last year in the program. He was working with juvenile and young adult books."
The reading program asked for the children to read the number of books described above for the whole summer. Eaach week the children would write down the books they had read in those few days. They received little prizes as well for their participation.
However, the two boys not only fulfilled their quota of books, but they did it each week. And it was not just the "Okay, I read it so give me a prize" attitude. They walked in hoping to talk about what they read.
"Colby and Grant would come and talk about the books they read. They were not in the program just to get a prize," Johnson related.
Still, their participation did not end there. Both Grant and Colby thoroughly enjoyed their opportunity to be in the summer reading program. They both began searching out their favorite books and if they were not all at the Lanesboro Library, they took the initiative to order them from other libraries in the area.
"Grant really liked Geronimo Stilton books and the mouse's adventures. But our library does not carry many of them so he has been ordering them," Johnson commented. "Colby is really into visual books and has many interests. If we did not have them, he ordered them."
Johnson greatly appreciated the effort so many people put into the program by taking the time to bring the children in. Since Grant is so young, his mother took the time to bring him in to the library every week. Colby, on the other hand, since he is older, had always come in to get books by himself and this summer, he started coming in more.
"Colby has really been a big advocate for the library this past year. He has even physically brought friends in to the library to share it with them," Johnson noted.
But what made them want to do so much reading? They did not know they were being picked for champion readers. It was a surprise.
"They have a sense of accomplishment, did a job well done and someone noticed it. We announced it at the final drawing for the grand prize so it was public and everyone applauded," Johnson stated.
Not only did those participating in the summer reading program recognize the two champion readers, but people around town and the surrounding area may have already seen the signs saying, "A Library Champion Lives Here."
"We have a small budget, but we got one for the champion in the older age group and one for the champion in the middle age group. People have also been calling us after seeing the sign appreciating it," Johnson said.
In addition to the fantastic sign, the boys also received a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble to spend on a book they would like.
"Congratulations to the boys because they did a great job. We had many good kids this year, but they were the cream of the crop," Johnson congratulated.
Reading is a wonderful skill. It feeds the imagination and helps guide people through the day.
"I think it is the best thing in the world. You are reading all the time and I am a firm believer that there is a book out there that matches each person's interests. If you don't like it, just find something else," Johnson concluded. "Keep up reading and keep encouraging the kids to read."