Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



Each note represents a child participating in the Summer Reading Program.

Photos and Story by Jacque Ritchie, TALON

"We start with early literacy...it's called Storytime," explained Angela Watkins or 'Ms. Angela' as she is known. Ms. Angela is currently the acting Aztec Library Interim Director and has worked in diffferent capacities at the library for 15 years. When she began in 2003 Ms. Angela initiated Aztec's Summer Reading Program. "When you hand a young child a book it's an invitation to engage on a physical level...the child can open the book and appreciate the feel of the book...we don't care if the child opens it backwards of upsidedown, what's important at this stage is that the child engage through physical touch." Ms. Angela said the early literacy program helps develop listening and langauge skills. She strongly recommends that parents of infants andpre-readers regularly read to their kids at home, saying, "We (library) are just a piece of the pie. At home storytime is so important. It is a soothing kind of interaction that can promote bonding...it's really a win-win. Pre-students associate books with parents in a postive way...and it prepares a child for entering school. By the time they go to school, they see books as a positive."

Children's programs in libraries began around the turn of the century beginning with the Cleveland Library League in 1895. A study by the U. S. Department of Education found that 95% of all public libraries offer a summer program. These programs are also used to prevent summer learning loss. "Not only does a Summer Reading Program offer social interaction but it's a necessary tool to keep reading levels up through the summer months."

Ms. Angela stressed the importance of fostering a love of reading and confidence early on, "The library is a great resource to help prepare a child to learn reading and writing which are essential to be successful in school and in life."

Aztec Public Library's Summer Reading Program is tailored to fit different age groups (early literacy, children and teens) and promote literacy and community in a fun way. This year's Summer Reading Program is winding down and will end August 2, but Pre-School Storytime is open all year. Students are also encouraged to come on over and do homework after school. The library offers hard-copy resources (books), access to computers and the internet (with a valid library card) and peer review journals (for those papers that require scholarly sources.)

As the summer winds down Ms. Angela is grateful for community support, "It is great to have the participation of the community to help encourage our children to keep up with reading during the summer months." Ms. Angela and the Aztec Library Staff would like to thank the following sponsors for their on-going program support by providing tasty incentives, free books and prizes to encourage good summertime reading habits. : Vanilla Moose, Domino's Pizza and Aztec A&W.

Come in and meet Ms. Angela and the staff and join in the fun. For more info: 505-334-7657 or stop by 319 S. Ash.

The Summer Reading Program includes:

Teen Tuesdays 2-4PM (12-18 years old)

Wacky Wednesdays 10:30-11:30 (6-12 years old)

Preschool Story Time Thursdays 9:30-10:30 (Birth to 5-years-old)

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