DALLAS — Five-year-old Madison West sat on a blue tarp looking through a book-filled plastic tote outside the Back Mountain Memorial Library at the Summer Reading Program Final Party Aug. 11.
Madison’s quest to hunt for her favorite book series, “Fancy Nancy,” by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, was fueled by her growing love of reading fostered by the library’s summer reading program.
About 50 of the 350 children registered in the program celebrated its end with a party on the library auction grounds.
A variety of activities gave children the opportunity to dance, add a word to a giant Scrabble-like game mat, play ladder toss, paint with vegetables and much more.
As kids visited each station, they received a sticker on a bookmark. Once they had five stickers, they could visit Jubilee Balloons booth to ask TJ Belt, a balloon artist, to make the balloon animal of their choice.
Refreshments and cake were available for the children and their parents to enjoy, said Janet Bauman, the children’s librarian.
The library’s annual Summer Reading Program Final Party is a way for the children to celebrate their summer-long reading efforts, Bauman said.
This year’s eight-week program was named “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read,” Bauman said.
“This year, we had a concentration on health,” she added.
The comprehensive program consists of story times for 2-year-olds up to groups for 18-year-olds.
Bauman also organized several guest speakers that included Mary Belanchik from Penn State Extension, John Filer from High Energy Karate in Dallas, yoga instructor Doreen Rakowski and Dallas Township Police Officer Gina Kotowski to name a few.
Madison and her 2-year-old brother, Owen, attended story times regularly, said their mother, Danielle West, of Dallas.
“We have been coming for about three years now,” West said. “I like the program because it encourages kids to read.”
Mackenzie Wascavage, 4, and her sister, Elliana, 3, from Monroe Township, also attended story time. Mackenzie liked the arts and crafts project that often followed the story each week.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.