As the school year winds down and the long, lazy summer stretches before you, don't forget the Beaufort County Library. We have so much planned for the kids in your life, and the good news is, it's all free.
This year's summer reading program runs June 7 to July 18 and has a science theme. Kids up to 10 years old will be part of "Fizz, Boom, Read," while tweens and teens (ages 10-17) will participate in "Spark a Reaction." Beginning June 7, participants of all ages can register online at www.beaufortcountylibrary.org or at their favorite branch library.
Throughout the six-week program, kids and teens set a reading goal for themselves and then log their progress. They can record their reading online, or a library staff member can help them log their progress. Every time a summer reading participant visits the library, he or she may enter a weekly drawing for an age-appropriate prize. Participants who reach (and log) their goal by July 18 are eligible for grand-prize drawings.
The summer reading program is perfect for keeping kids engaged in learning during the summer break. Research by the American Library Association and the International Reading Association shows that students who participate in summer reading programs don't experience what teachers call "the summer slide." Participants return to school reading at grade level, or at a higher level than when the school year concluded.
What makes summer reading fun is that kids have the freedom to read what interests them, rather than being tied down to a school reading list or assignment. We have books for every interest, hobby and reading level at the Beaufort County Library system, and they're all free.
In addition to books, all branches have audiobooks, DVDs and CDs that can be checked out. Audiobooks are great to use while traveling or hanging out at the beach. Book and CD sets are also good for reluctant readers or struggling readers who are tired of the beginning-reader format. The book and CD sets allow kids to listen to the story as they follow along with the printed picturebook. This approach is a fun and stress-free way to reinforce reading and listening skills.
Computers with children's games and the Internet computers also await your family. There are a variety of fun, educational games to entertain and educate kids from 2 to 11 years old. Additionally, many students use our computers to access their online school assignments through platforms such as Compass Learning.
In addition to all our resources, the Beaufort County Library has a wealth of free events each week for kids and teens. Each location offers storytimes for children from birth through kindergarten. For older kids and teens, a full slate of movie times, craft programs, LEGO events and gaming tournaments are scheduled. Check out the full schedule at www.beaufortcountylibrary.org, or swing by the children's room of your neighborhood branch and pick up a printed schedule.
This summer, many of our events take a fun, hands-on approach to science. Kids who visit the Beaufort branch can unleash their creativity at a special Make and Take Craft event, where they can create a special gift for their dad, grandpa or other special role model in their life.
In Bluffton, kids have weekly storytimes to choose from, as well as a special weekly event called Fizz Boom Read Wednesdays. At these events, a special guest will read stories with a science theme before helping kids with some simple experiments.
At the Hilton Head Island branch, kids can register for programs called Rocket Science, Slimey Science, Fizzy Science or Life in Space. Teens can test their skills at a soccer gaming tourney, check out an after-hours movie, participate in a scavenger hunt, or beat the heat with some afternoon crafts. Families who visit the Lobeco branch can attend storytimes or experience the messier side of science by attending Revolting Recipes or Mad Science programs in June and July.
The St. Helena Island branch also has many fun events planned for the kids in their service area.
Special performers have been booked and will present high-quality professional programs throughout the county. Performances include "The Science of Drums," an interactive, high energy program presented by drummer Jeff Holland. Savannah Balloons returns to Beaufort County with its wacky tale, "Charlie and the Balloon Factory," which is filled with beloved characters from well-known books and movies.
Local entertainer and kazoo aficionado Rick Hubbard will get crowds laughing and moving to the beat at the four larger branch libraries. All Hands Productions, a professional children's puppetry company, will celebrate summer reading with kids and their families at the Bluffton, Beaufort and St. Helena Island branches.
As you can see, there is a lot to discover this summer at your neighborhood branch. Stop by and check us out.
Julie Bascom is the children's manager at the Hilton Head Island library.