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All Together Now!

I remember flying over Central Park for the very first time. I marveled at the expansive green rectangle beneath me—a welcome break amidst the densely packed high-rises and varying shades of concrete.

I had just finished seven months of solo travel throughout Canada and Europe and had been without a cell phone the entire time. Yes, this was intentional. I wanted to be present with my surroundings, talk to the locals and hear their stories, get their advice on the best restaurants, and discover the off-the-beaten-path places guidebooks weren’t writing about.

On my second day in New York City, my boyfriend was preaching at a church in the East Village, and I had to find my way there all the way from Washington Heights. If you’re unfamiliar with the geography of Manhattan, I was essentially travelling from one end of the island to the other.

I had yet to navigate any form of NYC public transit, and I still didn’t have a cell phone, so pulling up Google Maps wasn’t an option. I did, however, have the people around me, and the ability to ask questions and seek help. I also had a metro card. So off I went, up the hill to the A Train at 181st Street.

One shuttle bus, two trains, one transfer, a half-mile trek across the village, and an entire hour later, I arrived at Middle Collegiate Church with five minutes to spare. I asked dozens of questions that morning and spoke with countless strangers, and all together, we accomplished my goal. I couldn’t have done it alone.

The staff at Wickson Library have been working tirelessly to bring you an incredible summer reading program. This year’s summer reading theme is “All Together Now!”—an objective that focusses on working together as a community and acting with kindness.

The summer reading challenge for all ages begins on June 1 and ends on August 11. If 325 or more people complete the reading challenge then Wickson Library will plant a beautiful tree in Memorial Park.

Adults and teens will fill out a bingo card with various reading challenges, while children (ages 3-12) will be able to set their own personal reading goal per day and work towards completing a 40-day log.

The primary goal of the summer reading program is to counteract summer learning loss, also referred to as summer slide—the decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school is not in session.

Research regarding summer learning loss suggests that students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math and reading.

One of the best ways to combat summer slide is to encourage a daily reading habit. Studies have shown that reading for just twenty minutes a day is enough to maintain learning levels in children.

In addition to the summer reading challenge, there will be five full weeks of programming for all ages, beginning with an all-day ice cream celebration on June 19 and culminating on July 28. Some programs have limited space and require advanced registration.

There will be activities for all ages, including a community string art project, live 4H animals, a trip to Wellspring Lutheran Services, and more. Weekly sub-themes will center around community connection, nurturing nature, teamwork, and kindness.

Children’s programming will include a special story time with Mrs. Emmons at the River Place stage on Tuesdays at 10am, opportunities to read to Frank the dog on Wednesday’s from 10am to noon, and Fridays will focus on “Be Kind to Your Mind” featuring yoga, tai chi, and mindfulness. There will also be two musical story times for ages 0-3.

Teen programming will take place every Tuesday from 1:00-2:00pm with activities such as jewelry making, book talks, and a guided experience in creating artwork with mixed media and oil pastels with art teacher M.K. Campau.

Incredible things happen when we work together. We hope you’ll join us for the summer reading challenge and check out our summer programming. We’re here to help you navigate your summer reading goals, and while we may not be handing out directions to the East Village, we are here to answer any questions you may have and point you in the direction of your next favorite book. We can’t wait to experience the magic of the summer reading program with you. All Together Now!

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