The Miami Public Library's summer reading program will be held throughout June and July this year.
The theme is “Oklahoma Kids: A Kaleidoscope,” commemorating the history of the state's children in conjunction with the centennial celebration.
In the “goody” bag the children receive when signing up is a sheet of trading cards of noted children throughout Oklahoma's history.
“Our goal is to develop positive attitudes about reading and books to motivate children to read,” said Connie Bradley, children's librarian.
Bradley has spent much of her time the last few weeks visiting local schools and letting children know what will be available.
Last year, 272 children participated in the reading program. Bradley is hoping to increase that number by 25.
The total attendance last year was 2,048 and Bradley hopes to increase that to 2,100.
“My personal goal is to get children hooked on books by making the books come alive in the hearts and minds of the children,” Bradley said. “Some of them may not yet realize that the world is at their finger tips, that reading can take them anywhere.
“A book is a magic door. It can take them places they have never been before.”
Activities open June 1 with a movie extravaganza on the second floor of the library. Admission is free and the library will provide refreshments.
The first movie is from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m. For children of all ages, it is the most recent version of “Charlotte's Web.” Released in 2006, it stars Julia Roberts as the voice of the spider and Dakota Fanning as the girl who saved the piglet.
It was the first movie to be rated “G” since 2001.
Also on June 1, from 2 to 3:40 p.m., the library will show “How to Eat Fried Worms,” rated “PG” for children 7 and older.
It is the story of a fifth grader who takes on a bully on the first day of the school year and accepts a dare that could change the balance of power within the class.
Both movies are based on books, “Charlotte's Web,” written by E.B. White, and “How to Eat Fried Worms” by Thomas Rockwell.
Bradley stressed that the upstairs room can only hold 75 people, so the children planning to attend should sign up immediately.
Family days, which are open to everyone, are held from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays.
Monty Harper, singer and guitarist, will perform “Oklahoma CenTUNEial Celebration” on June 6.
Stephen Smith, balloon artist and puppeteer, will perform “Okie Dokie and the 14 Flags of Oklahoma” on June 13.
Eileen Castle, storyteller and educator for the OKC Omniplex, will bring some of her favorite live exotic animals for the children to pet on June 20.
Susan Sykes, storyteller known as the “Pocket Lady,” will visit on June 27
In conjunction with the centennial theme, Sky Shivers and his wife, Debra, are new to the Miami program. On July 11, they will show the children “Grandpa and Grandma Did it this Way in 1907.”
The children can sign up for individual reading programs according to their ages.
“L'il Bookaroos,” for ages 3 to 5, is from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursdays; “Saddle-Up,” for ages 6 to 8, is from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays.
For those who can't read yet, there's also the “Read-to-Me” club.
The children will receive logs to fill out as they read during the summer. When turned in, they will receive “reading bucks” that can be used to purchase items from the “Library Mercantile.”
Bradley expressed her gratitude toward the Friends of the Library for the financial support they have given the summer reading program.
“I'm also grateful to local businesses for their support,” she said. “Asking for help is something I think few people like to do, but they were all so encouraging that I didn't mind.”
This year's summer reading program will end on a new note July 18.
In addition to the program by magician Kevin Wade and the distribution of awards, the library and Chapters bookstore will host a book sale on the library's second floor.