'Catch the Reading Bug' at Southern Pines Library
BY ALICE THOMAS
Special to The Pilot
Summer is a time for bugs. Dragonflies drift lazily around ponds. Mosquitoes buzz annoyingly at outdoor gatherings. Ants invade picnics. Lightning bugs blink on the lawn at dusk. There is no getting away from them.
"Don't get out the fly swatter and the bug spray just yet," says Lynn Thompson, library director for the Southern Pines Public Library.
Nature lovers and would-be entomologists in grades kindergarten through eight are invited to discover the summer reading programs being offered at the library: "Catch the Reading Bug!" for rising kindergarten through fifth-graders and "Metamorphosis @ Your Library" for rising sixth- through eighth-graders.
"Study after study has shown that summer reading programs help students of all ages keep and improve the reading skills they've developed during the school year," says Thompson. "But, we also hope kids will read and attend programs just for the fun of it."
Students may participate in one or both parts of the summer reading program by setting personal reading goals and/or attending special events at the library. By registering at the library and establishing a target number of books to read (audio books and books that are read to them count, too), students are eligible for a prize bag when they reach their goal.
Prize bags will include coupons for a free paperback book from The Country Bookshop and a free cone from the Ice Cream Parlor. In addition, all middle school-aged participants meeting their reading goals will be entered into drawings for a $50 gift certificate from Best Buy.
Registration begins June 16, and the last day to turn in a reading log and receive a prize bag is Aug. 22.
Although everyone is encouraged to register for the reading component, it is not a requirement for attending any or all of the following free programs:
"Catch the Reading Bug"
"Catch the Reading Bug" -- the summer reading program for rising kindergarten through fifth-graders -- kicks off Wednesday, June 25, at 11 a.m. with a presentation by Bright Star Children's Theatre. "Sadie's Spectacular Saturday" is the tale of a caterpillar that turns over a new leaf when she befriends a ladybug and encounters a bullying cockroach. This program is free and open to the public.
Based in Asheville, Bright Star Children's Theatre has been bringing "high-caliber professional theater to young people" for the past six years. Last year, the national touring company had more than 500 performances in 11 states, including a production at the National Theater in Washington, D.C.
The summer reading fun continues on Tuesday, July 8, at 11 a.m. when the "Bug Safari" gets underway. Kids are invited for an hour of stories, crafts, games and interesting visitors, including bug-eating plants and Weymouth Woods rangers.
On Tuesday, July 22, at 11 a.m. the crowd will be "itching" for the Alberti Flea Circus to begin. Children in the audience encourage and cheer the fleas, help with their props, and even provide the musical cues for their "incredible feats," which include being shot from cannons and doing high dives.
While the flea circus is an almost legendary part of fair and festival entertainment, with a history going back well over 100 years, few have ever had the opportunity to actually experience one. The Alberti family has been in the flea entertainment business since the 1880s. Before becoming a full-time "flea master," Jim Alberti was a design director at North Carolina School of the Arts. The flea circus is still based in Winston-Salem.
Last but not least, "The Good, the Bad, and the Bug-ly!" will celebrate kids' summer reading adventures with a finale filled with crafts, fun and stories. The party gets started at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5.
"Metamorphosis @ Your Library"
The library's Summer Reading Program for middle school students -- titled "Metamorphosis @ Your Library" -- kicks off on Wednesday, June 18, at 2 p.m. Rising sixth- through eighth-graders are invited to get (safely) up-close and personal with live Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, and scorpions. The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences presents this hour-long look at creatures without backbones.
When deadly super-spiders invade a tiny California town, folk begin dropping like... um, flies. Can the local doctor and Delbert the exterminator save the day? Find out on Wednesday, July 9. at 2 p.m. as the library screens the PG-13 movie, "Arachnophobia." Refreshments, including popcorn and creepy-crawly treats, will be served.
The "Metamorphosis" Middle School Summer Reading Program concludes at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, as participants "Get Buggy with Crafts!" The hour-long event offers kids the opportunity to make buggy magnets, flip books, and other "bee-utiful" creations.
The summer reading programs are made possible through funding by the Friends of the Library. For more information, call 692-8235 or visit www.sppl.net.
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