Summer Reading Program Brings the Ocean to Missouri |

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This summer, the Ozark Regional Library will dive into “Oceans of Possibility: The Scientific Method and Discovery” during this year’s ocean-themed summer reading program.

“There are so many opportunities for subjects with the oceans,” said ORL programming manager Suzette Spitzmiller. “Living in the Midwest, the ocean may be out of reach for some, but this summer’s program brings the ocean to Missouri.”

Spitzmiller said the program’s subtheme is “The Scientific Method of Discovery.”

“We decided to add a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) component to the oceans so that our community can take full advantage of the wave of scientific developments happening today,” Spitzmiller said. “We hope this theme will help local children understand that reading is both educational and entertaining.”

Spitzmiller said that at ORL they do their best to present books and topics that will inspire a lifetime of curiosity.

The Mesner Puppet Theater kicked off the summer reading program at the Fredericktown branch of the Ozark Regional Library last week with its fun and entertaining show.

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Throughout the month, you can expect programs such as Foraging and Wild Food Adventures, Microscopes, Tales of the Sea, Mad Science, Fossils and Build Your Own Story.

“We feel lucky to be able to bring unique artists and educators to our community, but we’re also blessed to have so many wonderful local people who also host classes,” Spitzmiller said. “Taylor Hartwig is another local educator and will introduce us to robotics. Karen Whitener is the owner of Little River Farms, and she will pass on her knowledge of fiber arts with an introductory crochet class. It’s hard to name all the generous local people who have contributed, but we want them to know they are appreciated.”

Spitzmiller said: ENT is excited about all the fun projects in store, learning new skills, and showing off all the new books purchased with library grant funds.

ENT is a recipient of the Summer Library Program scholarship which is provided by IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services).

“Without this funding, we wouldn’t be able to run the same type of summer program,” Spitzmiller said. “It helps pay for extra staff, supplies and artists that are not in our budget.”

Spitzmiller said the summer reading program is the busiest ENT program within the system. She said families love having something entertaining, educational and free to do for their family.

The program is fun for the whole family and has plenty for adults to do too.

“Adults can find something to take home at all of our events, but we will have many programs that adults will enjoy, such as Foraging and Wild Food Adventures, Intro to Crotchet, Virtual Reality and so on,” Spitzmiller said. “Additionally, if adults are interested in tracking their reading, our families category gives them the opportunity to participate in the Summer Reading Program’s Reading Challenge.”

Community members began signing up for the summer reading program on May 31. This year, there are three audiences: 0-5 year olds, 6-12 year olds and families.

“Each time a reading diary is completed, customers can return it to one of our locations and be entered into a raffle,” Spitzmiller said. “This year, for our grand prize, we have four tickets to the St. Louis Aquarium generously donated to us. Additionally, we will be drawing winners for the three prize categories mentioned above. Our baskets -gifts contain such things as books, toys and generous vouchers from local businesses.”

Spitzmiller said this year, Fredericktown R-1 Schools is working with ORL at the Fredericktown branch. She said community members can pick up gold tickets at the Fredericktown ENT Reception as part of the Fredericktown School’s 2022 Summer Reading Challenge. After reading for 20-30 minutes and filling out the ticket information, students can pick up their tickets and give them to their teachers at the start of the new school year to enter the grand prize draw at school.

“Since many of our programs have a reading component, families can use their attendance for our Library Reading Diaries and the Fredericktown School R-1 Summer Reading Challenge,” Spitzmiller said. “It benefits everyone.”

The Ozark Regional Library has many ocean-themed books ready for you to peruse and enjoy, including “That’s Not My Pirate”, “Leo and the Octopus”, “I’m a Shark”, ” Show Us Where You Live”, “Humpback”, “Science Comics: Sharks”, “The Ocean in Your Tub”, “Wave”, “Swashby and the Sea”, “Mermaid and Me”, “Inky’s Great Escape” , “Peanut Butter and Jellyfish”, and so many more Suite.

Visit or call the library if you have questions about upcoming programming. Watch for announcements of additional programs for Oceans of Possibilities: The Scientific Method and Discovery on Facebook, Instagram or at ozarkregional.org.

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