CALEXICO – As summer break begins and radiating heat overcomes the Valley, local families joined in Tuesday afternoon at the annual Summer Family Reading Program sponsored by the Enrique Camarena Memorial Public library. Through listening to stories and participating in fun activities, children were exposed to books and reading in a positive way. They also had the opportunity to make crafts, enjoy snacks, play games, receive prizes and spend quality time with parents or grandparents.
The annual summer program is open to the whole family, from infants to adults, and registering children ages 0-12 years old is free. Each child who participated in the activities received a free book to take home and a snack bag.
“The purpose of this program is for children to have a opportunity in the summer to have fun and develop a love for reading,” said Sandra Tauler, Community Services director for the city of Calexico.
“This event has definitely grown over the years and we even have people who used to come here as a kid and now bring their own children to the reading program. We encourage parents to visit the library and we hope to continue to create new activities for people of all ages,” Tauler said.
Kids grouped together with their parents at tables full of sparkles, crayons and materials as they created their ultimate art pieces. After they finished their vibrant crafts, they ran to the lines to play bowling and other games.
Calexico resident Araceli Gutierrez was accompanied by her four-year-old daughter who has attended the event for two years. Gutierrez noted that although her daughter does not read yet, she now recognizes words and syllables from books since she has brought her daughter to the library.
“My daughter has lots of fun coming here. She picks her own books and gets excited every time we read one. It’s a great way to get out and not have her in front of a screen all day,” said Gutierrez.
“I want her to have the custom to read and enjoy it. It’s important to take advantage of this events and help our children interact with other,” she said.
Apart from reading, children got fun temporary tattoos, enjoyed snacks and sat by to hear stories read from library staff members and a Calexico police officer who volunteered for the event.
“This program is for kids to be in a positive and fun environment. We see kids coming out happy because they had fun making crafts or from reading fun books,” said Carlos Felipe Calderon, assistant librarian. “We hope that children have more connection and interest in reading books through the different activities we have here.”