Courtesy photo

Drawing helps June Vasquez develop pen control.

Can you believe that summer is almost here? This year thankfully, families will be swimming, hiking and playing at the park. And one of Twirl's favorite summer activities is back -- the Summer Reading Program with Taos County public libraries!

This summer, Twirl will team up with libraries to bring a fun interactive storytelling experience to children's library summer-reading programs across Northern New Mexico.

The national summer reading program has a new theme every year, and this year's is "Tales and Tails." The program is free to community members and encourages babies, children, tweens and teens to read by creating fun weekly programs, storytimes and incentives for families.

Twirl has cooked up a presentation entitled: "Coyote, Tale of a Trickster," a STEAM storytime based on trickster tales from the American Southwest.

A trickster is a character who tends to be, well… tricky. These characters are selfish, witty, and good at bending the rules to get their way. They usually appear as animals with human traits. Trickster tales are told all over the world in many different cultures and children love trickster tales because they are often funny and entertaining, but the tales have been used by adult storytellers for generations to teach lessons about how to behave and how to treat others.

Twirl's summer reading presentation will engage children of all ages through all their senses. Families will be encouraged to look, listen, dance, and even sing along with the storyteller. Children will also be invited to experiment with STEAM challenges. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. STEAM embraces creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication and increases student learning and engagement. Twirl's STEAM storytime will introduce families to the incredible intersections of academics, storytelling, play, and literacy, making the story interactive and bringing the trickster's troubles to life.

It takes a village to raise a reader! In fact, every child should have a team of community members who support their early literacy development: teachers, public libraries, community programs like Twirl, and especially a child's own family. Parents and caregivers play an important role in a child's literacy development. From the moment a child is born, that child is learning important skills that will directly impact future reading success. Family literacy is easier than one might think!

With younger children, families should focus on making reading enjoyable and engaging children in stimulating conversation, even if they can't speak yet! Spend time together reading all types of books, labeling things the child sees ("that is a small red car"), drawing, singing, storytelling, reciting poems, playing games, and rhyming. Talk about what you see with as much detail as you can to help them build vocabulary and an understanding of the world around them. If you speak another language, spend time reading and conversing with your child in that other language.

With older children, families can point out the way words sound, the way letters sound, play word games, talk about word meanings, and point out interesting or new words when reading together. Read non-fiction and poetry and ask questions before, during, and after reading aloud.

Reading is important for everyone in the community, regardless of age, and reading is a skill that grows with practice throughout a lifetime. Taos educators, libraries, community organizations, and Twirl, are passionate about seeing our young learners succeed in reading. We hope that families will take advantage of the rich resources that are being offered to community members. Find more practical ways to support literacy at https://improvingliteracy.org/

Join Twirl's STEAM storytime "Coyote, Tale of a Trickster" at one of these participating libraries:

Questa Public Library- (in person) Wednesday, June 9th, 2021 10:00 AM

Embudo Valley Library- (in person) Thursday, July 1, 10:30 AM

Taos Public Library- (on zoom) Wednesday, July 21st, 10:30 AM

Eagle Nest Public Library- (in person) Monday, August 9, 10:00 AM

Most of these libraries will be opening back up this summer and their summer reading programs will be in person and held outdoors. Please contact libraries directly for any updates or changes. Special attention will be given to social distancing protocols and COVID safe material handling. Space is limited due to COVID regulations. We would love for you to join us, but please note that registration is required. Please contact the Libraries directly to register.

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