Iseri Rivas Castillo

Spend summer with good books at Greater Victoria Regional Library branches

GVPL encourages kids to read over the summer holidays with fun reading program

Summer can be a time for outdoor adventures, camping and dips in the local swimming hole, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to read.

Juan de Fuca library Children and Family Literacy Librarian Leah Pearse goes a step further, believing children who read during the summer sharpen their skills and have an easier time at school when it starts up again in the fall.

To encourage summertime reading, the Greater Victoria Public Library is taking part in the provincial Kids’ B.C. Summer Reading Club 2013.

“It’s all these fun programs that are tied to reading, so the whole experience is fun for the kids,” Pearse said. “There’s always a lot going on. I feel we really kick it up a notch in the summer.”

The theme for this year’s club is Up, Up and Away, celebrating books on anything that flies, from superheroes to planes to dinosaurs to birds.

Starting on June 27, the last day of school for many students, children 12 and under can swing by any branch of GVPL to pick up a reading record, featuring artwork by Victoria artist Eliska Liska. In the record book, the young participants will write down every day they read for 20 minutes or more.

For every seven days of reading, the child will get a small prize, such as a bookmark, a temporary tattoo or a swim pass. One week will also feature a mystery prize. Children who read consistently for the entire seven weeks of the program will receive either a medal or a book prize for their accomplishments.

“It’s just amazing to see how excited they are, because it’s a huge accomplishment for some of them,” said Pearse.

For younger children, the club can be used for parents who read to or with their children.

For flight-related children’s books Pearse recommends Mo Willems’ Today I Will Fly, from his Elephant and Piggie series of books. There are also a number of science-related books on some surprising animals that fly, such as flying squirrels and flying snakes.

Children are welcome to read anything they like for the club though, including fiction, non-fiction, magazines, e-books etc.

“It keeps the kids reading, and I think it’s because we make it so fun,” Pearse said. “It’s just another motivation to keep reading.”

A whole host of other programs are being offered at the Juan de Fuca branch over the summer, for children, teens and adults alike.

One highlight is the puppet workshops, where children get to enjoy puppet shows and make puppets of their own. Puppeteer Tim Gosley will be coming in for the July 23 session.

Other programs revolve around superheroes, science, knitting and storytelling.

All programs are free and registration is online at gvpl.ca.

A tie-in with the Royal B.C. Museum’s Race to the End of the Earth exhibit will also give way to a Choose Your Own Adventure: Antarctic Expedition game. The scavenger hunt style game will see children finding clues throughout the library. Game cards will be posted at every library loca