The stage is set, the acts have been selected and "It's Showtime!" at the Two Harbors Public Library this summer. The library is celebrating all forms of performance art this summer while encouraging community members of all ages to read. The program started June 7 and will continue until Aug. 16.

Fun for adults

Adults can also get involved in the summer reading program and receive a prize entry slip for every book read. Adults are also encouraged to write short reviews of the books read on the drawing entry slips. Every week there will be a prize drawing for a $20 gift card and a few grand prize drawings Aug. 16.

“It’s especially important for parents to participate in the adult program,” Hatch said. “Because it’s really good modeling for their families to see. If mom and dad spend time reading, then for the kids it becomes a normal thing you can do for your whole life.”

Programs offered for adults this summer include art demonstrations, author talks and Monday, June 10, a lesson in calligraphy and handwriting. Local handwriting expert Brenna Jordan provided a demonstration of penmanship and hands-on help to attendees to develop personalized signatures.

Incentives for kids

The emphasis of the summer reading program for children and teens is on reading for lengths of time. For every 100 minutes read and recorded, children and teens will place their names into drawings for prizes. The youth program has prize packs and incentives along the way such as pencils, bookmarks and fun small toys as well as an entry to one of the bigger prize packs. The teens can pick a prize pack entry for every 100 minutes.

"And it counts if the kid is reading by themselves, being read to or listening to an audiobook," said children's services library assistant Carmella Hatch. "it works great if people are on vacation, they can plow through some reading time in the car by listening to an audiobook."

Kids and teens can pick up tracking sheets from the library. Parents are encouraged to help younger children keep track of their minutes.

"I remember at the end of last summer, some parents said they were kind of glad the program was over since their kids kept asking them, 'How long have I read, Mom? How long have I read?" Hatch said. "But it's so good for them to keep up reading."

Hatch said studies show that students who don't read over the summer break can struggle to maintain reading skills developed in the previous school year.

"Whereas, if they kept reading all summer long, they’ll maintain and possibly improve on the things they’ve learned through the school year be able to keep up," Hatch said. "And it helps them develop the habit of reading, which can stay with them for their whole lives."

In keeping with the theme of "It's Showtime!," the library is partnering with the Friends of the Band Shell Park. The organization is raising funds for a major overhaul of Two Harbors' Thomas Owens Park and to build a new performing arts center. The library will have a model of the proposed new performing space on display for a majority of the summer along with informational pamphlets.

Adults can drop off donations for the organization, but children and teens have a different way to donate. The Friends of the Two Harbors Public Library will donate 25 cents for every 100 minutes a child reads as long as the child chooses to have their reading credits applied toward the fundraiser in lieu of accepting a standard incentive prize.

Summer reading program events

To further celebrate the program's theme, various performances and art programs have been scheduled throughout the summer:

Mondays

  • Musical family storytimes, 11:15 a.m. Children will expand their literacy skills with 20-30 minutes of stories, songs and rhymes, followed by a craft or activity. Similar to previous preschool storytimes, but with added activities to include babies and toddlers in attendance. Geared toward ages 0-5.

Fridays

  • Read to Lucy the whippet, noon, Two Harbors Public Library.

Tuesday, June 18

  • Brodini Comedy Magic Show, 6-7 p.m. Magician Graylyn Morris will raise spirits and test kids' powers of concentration as he manipulates ropes, scarves, balls and other magician props.

Monday, June 24

  • The Dollipops, 10 a.m., Silver Bay Public Library. A musical interactive kids’ show about sisters Dolli and Pop who bring kids on a magical and musical road trip to Sweet Tart City.

Thursday, June 27

  • "You Are in a Play!," 4 p.m. An afternoon of acting featuring characters from Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books. Ages 5 and up.