School's out, but thousands of pupils in the Baltimore area will have their noses tucked in books during the summer months -- thanks to a variety of free programs encouraging children to keep reading.
One of the biggest programs will be Baltimore's SuperKids Camp, run by the nonprofit Parks & People Foundation to provide reading instruction and recreational activities for children entering the third grade with below-level reading skills.
Mornings will be devoted to reading instruction. Afternoons will be spent on activities at places such as the Downtown Sailing Center, Baltimore Zoo, Columbus Center, Peabody Conservatory, Center Stage and Maryland Institute, College of Art.
"This is a much bigger project than we had last year," said Sally Michel, SuperKids Camp's founder.
An invitation to take part in the camp was offered to 4,839 children, and 1,144 had registered by last week. Pupils invited to sign up may still register by calling 410-448-5663.
The pupils -- who will be transported from their elementary schools by bus -- pay $10 to register and $30 for the summer, but scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the fees.
Anne Arundel County
A seven-week summer reading program starts tomorrow at the 15 Anne Arundel branch libraries. The theme is "Thrills and Chills in the Library."
The branches will feature performers and programs, and their librarians will encourage reading.
"We don't ask them to do anything in particular," said Cathy Butler, who runs the program. "We just really want to encourage them to read over the summer."
Children will collect points toward prizes this summer for reading books or newspapers -- or having someone read to them -- in an eight-week Baltimore County library program.
The rewards include coupons for use at Adventure World, pencils, bookmarks, and a certificate from their teacher.
Last year, about 22,000 children received certificates. "We think we're going to have more, because the middle schools are getting more involved with promoting the program," Pam Henderson, coordinator for the programs in Baltimore County libraries, said.
At the five Carroll County branch libraries, students of all ages can join the free Summer Reading Club that started last week and runs until Aug. 8. Those who are too young to sign up to read may participate by agreeing to have books read to them.
"We don't count the number of books they read -- we are trying to build an everyday reading habit," said Karen Boggs, the county's reading program librarian.
After seven days of reading, participants get such prizes as bookmarks, stickers and temporary tattoos. Last summer, about county children joined the club, and this summer about 11,000 are expected, Boggs said.
Librarians at the nine Harford County library branches aim to get children "Fired Up for Reading" and are using a Middle Ages theme for their summer program.
The program -- more than a quarter-century old -- invites children to register, then agree to read any 10 books at grade level or higher during the summer. Children need only log in the titles they read to receive small prizes after reading three, six and 10 books.
Throughout the summer Middle Ages-theme events will be held, including a magic show, juggling and story-time presentations. Last year, about 800 youngsters participated.
Registration starts tomorrow, and the program runs until Sept. 15. For more information, call a library branch.
"Reading Takes You Everywhere" is the theme of Howard County's summer reading program, which began May 22 and runs until Aug. 8. It is divided into three age-and-ability groups:
"Away We Go" is for youngsters who don't know how to read yet. They listen to 25 books, read to them by parents or older siblings, then enter drawings for prizes.
Children who can read independently can "Book a Trip" by signing a written contract drawn up with their parents, indicating how many books they think they can read. They are eligible for prizes if they meet the goal.
Middle-schoolers can be on the "Reading Road Trip" by reading books or listening to books on tape, then submitting "post cards" -- entry forms to a drawing for prizes, including computer software.
"The more they enter, the greater their chances for a prize," said Hope Chase, who heads the library's department of youth services.
The library also will ask middle-schoolers to evaluate Web sites for inclusion on its home page.
Pub Date: 6/14/98