Education

School’s out, so it’s time for ... reading

Hunter Bosworth, 8, reads an Encyclopedia Brown book at the summer reading kick-off party Sunday at the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center.
Hunter Bosworth, 8, reads an Encyclopedia Brown book at the summer reading kick-off party Sunday at the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center. Miami Herald Staff

Jeremiah Begeansma drew a picture of a blue gun with a box around it to show that was “an important gun” and in a museum.

The 7-year-old then explained that a super hero would swoop in before a “bad guy” could steal it and “do bad things.”

Jeremiah’s pictorial tale — which he showed using bright colors and two pieces of paper — was his contribution to a communal comic strip project as part of the summer reading kick-off party on Sunday at Nova Southeastern University’s Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center in Davie.

“Reading opens up their imaginations,” said Jeremiah’s mom, Victoire Begeansma, as she watched her children create their comic strip. “It’s very important that you make reading and learning fun.”

With school out for the summer in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, children are being encouraged to take time out from hitting the pool, heading to the beach and going to camp to read at least two hours a week through Aug. 1. Both counties, using the theme Every Hero Has a Story for young students and Unmask! for teens, are giving everyone a chance to win prizes for logging reading time.

“If children aren’t reading through the summer they may lose ground,” said Anne Leon, the executive director of public library services at NSU’s library. “We try to make it as fun as possible and they are learning in the process.”

Miami-Dade Public Library System kicked off its summer reading program Saturday with Miami Dolphins players reading to children at the North Dade Regional Library and the Miami Lakes Branch Library.

Throughout the summer, programs at different branches for children and teens will include Lego challenges, robot building, super-hero sculpting and scrapbook decorating.

Those who register and keep track of the programs they attend and books they read can play a raffle with prizes that include an Amazon Kindle Fire, Miami Dolphins training camp experience and Lego prizes.

Broward’s program is similar. Students can register online or at a branch and also must track their reading and library time. Depending on the age, students are given goals for the summer. Preschoolers should read 50 books. Elementary children should read 16 hours and attend at least one program. Teens should read 12 hours, have five digital downloads and attend five programs.

While NSU’s library is not considered a branch of the Broward County Public Library System, it is teaming up with Broward for the summer reading program. So students can log hours at any of the branches and at the university.

“As long as they read, it doesn’t matter where,” Leon said. “That’s what today is about.”

At Sunday’s party, kids went on a journey with Salty Sue, a pirate, took pictures with Captain America and Spiderman, made comic collages, and checked out piles of books.

Cord Dickinson, 9, considers reading a joy.

“Every time you open up a book, you start an adventure,” he said. “Sometimes when I start reading, I can’t stop.”

To participate

Miami-Dade students can visit any branch to register or register online at www.mdpls.org. Broward students can visit a branch in Broward to register or register at www.broward.org/library/read. Broward students can also register at the Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center at public.library.nova.edu/summer.

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