Yolanda Botello will do a lot of things to engage readers -- build a tower out of noodles, bring in wild animals and even get enveloped in a giant bubble.
The youth services librarian at the Mansfield Public Library has lined up dancing, video games, magic shows, balloon artists, petting zoos, a professional yoyoist and science experiements. Botello has a free program or activity scheduled for every weekday through July 31, hoping to bring in newborns through adults and get them to read.
“Keeping kids engaged gets them in the library and makes it fun,” Botello said. “Once they get here, we say ‘Are you part of (the Summer Reading Club)?’”
Last week, more than 160 parents and children piled into the library’s community room to watch The Incredible Bubble Show, as Linda Berman stretched dish soap into enormous bubbles and waved tiny froth.
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“You’re going to see bubbles you’ve never seen before,” the Texas Bubble Lady promised., as she worked shapes and colors into her presentation.
Last year, the library signed up 1,080 readers, fighting what teachers call “summer reading loss,” Botello said.
“Teachers say if kids haven’t read all summer, they haven’t engaged their brains in three months,” she said. “When you throw in prizes and they don’t have to read for a grade, they’re more open to it.”
For pre-readers age 4 and younger, the club asks parents to do activities with the younsters like point out colors and say the alphabet.
Ages 5-12 and 13-17 are divided into two categories, but have the same requirements. Bring in their activity logs and show any progress and get a prize. Read the most minutes for the summer in one of the two divisions and you can take home a Kindle.
Adults have their own logs, which ask them to complete three activities in a row on an activity board, turn in the log and be entered in a weekly drawing for prizes. At the end of the summer, all adult logs will be entered into a drawing for a Kindle, too.
The library will wrap up the Summer Reading Club with a free end-of-the-year party from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. July 31 at Katherine Rose Memorial Park, 303 N. Walnut Creek Drive, with bounce houses, carnival games and a petting zoo. Everyone is invited.
Summer Reading Club is open to newborns through adults at the Mansfield Public Library, 104 S. Wisteria St. Free. www.mansfieldtexas.gov/library