By DENETTE WATSON
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — Sounds of excitement came from participants in attendance at Taylor Community Library’s summer reading program one recent Tuesday afternoon. The excitement built as Mike Brophy of Reptiles Inc. reached into a box to display one of several reptiles.
The reptile presentation was part of the Dig into Reading program at the library, 12303 Pardee Road, children and teens. The program was designed as a fun and easy way to keep participants’ reading skills sharp over the summer.
The program is open to children and teens ages 3 to 17 from any community. Participants register at the library and receive log sheets to keep track of reading and listening time. Each week participants record their time at the library and collect prizes as benchmark times are met.
Attending a program, such as the presentation by Reptiles Inc., awards participants an additional one hour of reading time. Program presentations and activities occur from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the library.
On July 16, parents and children in attendance learned about several reptiles. Brophy explained that different reptiles require different living conditions and care. He also stressed that some reptiles make for good pets, while others do not. The big lesson of the day was directed to moms in attendance.
“Moms, do your research,” said Brophy, referring to purchasing a reptile as a pet.
The presentation was not all about facts and dos and don’ts. There also was fun.
Brophy humored children in attendance by daring a small crested gecko to bite him as he held it in the palm of his hand. After the presentation, parents and children were invited to hold and pet the gecko, an Australian blue-tongue skink, American alligator, and several snakes, including a 9-foot-long python.
Children’s librarian Christine Gogolowski said the program has more than 400 registered participants and believes that programs like the reading program are untapped library resource.
“It’s amazing how many people don’t know about library resources,” Gogolowski said. “Reading is important and we want to do anything we can do to encourage reading.”
The reading program is not all about reading but it also encourages activities through which children can learn. Other ways of earning reading time include taking a walk in Taylor’s Heritage Park, learning a new riddle, or by visiting one of more than 100 state parks.
Free passes into MI Big Green Gym are available through Taylor Community Library and nearly 500 other libraries throughout Michigan. The passes are good for entry into any state park or recreation area.
Jason Martin, 32, of Taylor brought his four children ages 5, 9, 13, and 14 to Tuesday’s reptile presentation. All four children are participants in the summer reading program.
“The kids get bored during the summer,” Martin said. “The reading program helps them maintain their reading ability, keeps them occupied and teaches them to work toward goals.”
Registration for the reading program currently remains open. For more information on the summer reading program and upcoming events visit Taylor Community Library at www.taylor.lib.mi.us.