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Bucks County Public Library kicks off 2012 Summer Reading Program with great events

A volunteer from the audience becomes an art critic in Tom McDonnell's "You Can Be Anything" magic show at the Doylestown branch of Bucks County Library on a Thursday evening in June.

In mid-June, the Bucks County Public Library system kicked off its seven-week, drop-in summer reading program that encourages kids to DREAM BIG this summer.

Dream Big—Read! runs June 16 to August 4 at all the library branches and is geared to children of all ages, offering a host of age-appropriate activities and incentives to keep young people reading for enjoyment throughout the summer months.

Kids and adults pay close attention to Tom McDonnell's tricks and lessons.

Last year, nearly 14,000 children participated in the summer reading program in Bucks County and more than 30,000 children attended programs provided by the libraries. When recent state budget cuts threatened many valuable library programs and services, a $50,000 donation from the Fred Beans Automotive Group meant that the summer program would not be curtailed.

“Each year, the library’s Summer Reading Program encourages children to open books and read for fun, and those who participated have had an advantage when school began again in the fall,” says Stephanie Deeter, regional Mmnager. “Without the financial assistance from Fred Beans, we would not have been able to provide a program of this magnitude to the community.”


A young policeman looks for clues to Tom's missing magic wand!

They've found fingerprints!

Studies have shown that children who continue to read during the summer perform better when school resumes in the fall. Additionally, studies show that reading for pleasure is one of the most powerful tools to increase reading comprehension, speed and vocabulary. Unstructured reading for pleasure of materials that children select themselves is extremely effective in promoting literacy, even when compared to direct reading instruction.

Here’s how this year’s program works: Children in preschool through 12th grade were invited to pick up a Dream Big—Read! reading log at their local library branch starting June 16. On it, they record the number of minutes they read each day. Then once a week between June 16 and August 4 they can show their reading log to the library staff when they visit to return books and check out new ones, and they will receive a small prize.

But there is more! The libraries are offering a host of fun-filled children’s programs designed to enhance their reading experience. Children can also earn tickets toward grand prize drawings of Kindle Fires and even an exciting vacation for the whole family at Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos.

The audience crows with laughter at Tom's antics.

Last week at the Doylestown main branch, Tom McDonnell’s Magic Shows drew two audiences of more than 100 kids and adults each. Coming up are these great family/all-ages events:

  • Eyes of the Wild Traveling Zoo
  • The Franklin Institute presenting Life In Space
  • Two of a Kind music performance
  • Rick Mikula, the Butterfly Guy
  • Puppets Pizzazz
  • Flow Circus Juggling

In addition, toddlers and preschoolers can drop in for Fun Fridays, 10-10:45am, on June 22 and 29, July 6, 13, 20 and 27, and August 3. Please visit the main website at www.buckslib.org and click on your library’s page for specifics about special activities in your neck of the woods.


Tom helps a young mail carrier.

A volunteer doctor giggles when Tom shows an image of a skeleton in a book about the body.

Magician Tom McDonnell and his bunny, Stew

Tom's bunny, Stew, is petted by two admirers...

...who then get their photo taken with Stew.