Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Make Summer Reading Fun Nassau: Libraries Holding Special Programs for Kids

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Make Summer Reading Fun Nassau: Libraries Holding Special Programs for Kids

Article excerpt

Byline: Allison Schaefers, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Even though he can't read yet, 4-year-old Connor Holland has been going to the library regularly for about two years.

His mother, Barbara Kent Holland, thinks the experience broadens his perspective on life. He just thinks it's fun.

"If he'll choose a book to read versus watching TV, I'm a happy mom," she said.

Now that the Nassau County libraries are holding their summer reading programs, Holland and lots of other moms are happy. Connor is one of about 200 children this year who will be participating in the summer programs at branch libraries in Fernandina Beach, Hilliard and Callahan. That number has more than tripled in the past five years as parents and guardians have realized the difference a library can make, said Marlene Deutcher, the children's library coordinator at the Fernandina Beach branch library.

The program began last week with a visit from Ronald McDonald. Each week, the library is hosting a special reading promotion show with visits from puppeteers, jugglers, magicians, musicians, scientists, storytellers and naturalists.

The topics are as diverse as the library's reading selection, but they're geared toward getting the message to children that reading is not only good for them, it's fun.

"TV is great and computers are great, but there's nothing like a book to take you on a journey," Deutcher said.

Deutcher, who's also an artist, said she doesn't read many adult books for lack of time, but reads children's books all day, frequently sharing them with children.

"The underlying messages are so wonderful," she said. "When you learn to read, you learn to perceive and understand."

Holland said introducing Connor to books has expanded his small world. He often suggests going to the library to find the answers he wants, she said.

"We like to find the answers in a book," she said.

Connor especially likes bugs and has a passion for insect books, Holland said.

"Last time we came to the library, he wanted to check out about 15 books," she said. "We almost couldn't carry them all."

Candy Mohler, a Fernandina Beach mom, said she, too, enjoys bringing her sons -- 4-year-old Stephen and 2-year-old David -- to check out books. …

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