Pelham’s summer reading program off to a good start

PELHAM – Libraries where children silently read books are a thing of the past. That was evident on Thursday, June 7, during the Tech Time event at the Pelham Public Library.

A group of 15 elementary and middle school students second through sixth grade took part in an interactive robotics programming class as a part of the library’s summer reading program. The summer reading program, with the theme “Libraries Rock,” kicked off on Tuesday, June 5, with Red Mountain Theatre Company’s Beauty and the Beast presentation.

During Tech Time, children were challenged with using an iPad to program a Sphero, a spherical robot capable of rolling on the floor, to roll in a square. Tech services librarian Matt Griffin instructed the class, with the help of children’s librarian Rebecca Burchfield and two junior librarians.

“They learned how to tell the Sphero how to do math and they sent and received information from the robot,” Griffin said. “This class will build on itself and become more advanced as the summer progresses.”

Prior to the class, junior librarian Ian Glasgow said he didn’t have any experience with programming a Sphero.

“I was kind of frustrated at first with just learning how to input the commands to make it do different things,” he said.

But after a lot of trial and error, Glasgow was able to help a participant program the Sphero to roll in a square.

“It was definitely rewarding when it finally made a square after trying so many times,” Glasgow said.

Tech Time will take place every Thursday at 2 p.m. at the library. Parents must register their children no later than the Monday prior to the event. Other events are also offered through the summer reading program. Each day of the week the library will offer different activities for kids to participate in. Some days will be reserved for movies, arts and crafts, story time and much more.

The summer reading program is open to children from birth age to incoming sixth graders. Registration must be completed at the library. Although the program has already started, parents can register their children at any time. Upon registration, parents will receive a reading log, a “Book Bingo” sheet and a few goodies.

“Book Bingo” is an ongoing game throughout the summer. The “Book Bingo” sheet lists different types of books children can read – like fiction, non-fiction or funny books – and for each row completed the child gets a prize. If they complete their whole sheet their name will be entered into a drawing to win a bicycle and helmet.

Kids are also allowed to complete more than one “Book Bingo” sheet to increase their chances of winning the bike and helmet.

The reading program ends on July 21. On July 23, there will be a drawing to win prizes. Winners will be notified and may pick up their prizes at the Summer Reading Finale party on July 24.