Summer is made for reading in Red Deer, with new and established programs aimed at improving children’s literacy skills.
Red Deer Public Library now has a book bike to reach out to children in different parks around the city when the weather co-operates.
“We’ve had really positive feedback,” said library youth services manager Candice Putnam.
“(Staff) bring lots of activities and stories along with them, so everybody who comes has a variety of things they can partake in. It’s really good for all ages.”
She said the book bike has been mistaken for a roving ice cream vendor, but on closer inspection, children and parents can see the bike and trailer contains library books, and they can actually sign up for library cards in the park.
“We’re definitely going to continue it next year. We’ve had some great turnouts and lots of fun.”
Putnam said the book bike has been out about a dozen times so far this summer, and has attracted as many as 40 participants, depending on the location and the weather.
When the weather was bad, the program was held indoors at the downtown library.
Friends of Red Deer Public Library donated the bike and the custom-made trailer was donated by Slasher Welding.
For a list of book bike times and locations, visit www.rdpl.org.
Library summer reading programs also run at the Timberlands branch on Monday and the Dawe branch on Friday.
On Wednesday, the eighth annual Central Alberta Optimist Clubs Reading College wrapped up with a graduation ceremony for 61 Grade 2 students.
The free literacy-enrichment program, developed by The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools, ran for four weeks at Red Deer College.
“I think now, more than ever, reading is important,” said foundation executive director Bruce Buruma.
He said students have been working hard on their reading, writing and word skills through a variety of activities.
Studies show that students’ skills decline over the summer if they don’t engage in literacy activities, so the program helps students improve their abilities.
Donations and gifts in kind make the reading college possible, Buruma said.
“We need that support. It’s not a cheap program when we’re doing transporation, food and high-quality instruction, with a number of staff working closely with students.
“If we had to charge families, it would be close to $2,000 per student.”