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Rapid City Public Library's Summer Reading Program will have a Libraries Rock! Summer Reading Kickoff Party from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 19.

Journal file

My son has an app on his phone that calculates the time left until school is out; first counting the days, then hours down to minutes, and finally, seconds. You might say we are ready for summer in our household. Sleeping in becomes his first priority, followed by lots of outdoor activities, from rock climbing to camping to biking. Summer is a splendid time for children, and although the time away from school has many benefits, important skills acquired during the school year often fade if they do not continue reading.

Enter, Rapid City Public Library. Our Summer Reading Program provides fun opportunities for children to build on the skills they have developed throughout the school year. We start with our Libraries Rock! Summer Reading Kickoff Party from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 19. It’s a celebration for the entire family, featuring music by Complete DJs, face painting with Let’s Face It and dance performances by the Hot Shots Dance Team at 11 a.m. We are serving up sno cones and cotton candy and have fun games, button making and music-themed crafts for all ages. Kids can also get down on our dance floor and take part in a hula hoop and air guitar contest.

In addition, our Music Station in Youth Services opens May 19, providing children with a hands-on experience of sounds and rhythms. A PVC pipe xylophone and pipe chimes allow children to play notes on a musical scale. Our life-size bamboo wind chimes provide children with a new, fun way to interact with sounds. Music can enhance language and literacy skills in young children, improving the connections between sounds and reading comprehension.

Summer Reading logs and event bookmarks will be available at our kickoff event. Take them home and start reading. Children can either read or be read to 15 minutes per day and track their reading progress in 25 and 50 day logs. Children who read for 50 days become eligible for a fun prize drawing supported by the Friends of the Library. Every participant who turns in a reading log receives a set of coupons from local business sponsors, a book and a small toy. Summer Reading bookmarks detail our complete lineup of special events throughout the summer.

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Musician Steve Weeks performs at 11 a.m. May 31 during our first “Libraries Rock!” Summer Reading Concert. Weeks educates kids through the music he writes. His richly layered acoustic-based songs range from bluegrass to folk hop experimenting with unusual percussion instruments. “Tiny House” weaves an absurd story of downsizing. “Run-On” is a song consisting of a single run-on sentence and “Backwards Song The” is, well, backwards.

Rapid City Public Library encourages your children to read what they love during the summer to grow into better readers for the fall when they head back to school. Kick off a successful summer of reading beginning with our Summer Reading Party May 19 and continue with fun events all summer long. We can’t wait to get you started.

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