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Panther Valley library hosts Universe of Stories

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    Participants of A Universe of Stories hold an astronaut mural they created during the program. From left, Avalynn Hoffman, Landon Gillette, Dallas Clark, Lorelei Escalante, Elenore Colancecco, Ty Williams, Luna Escalante, Logan Miller and J.J. Semuta. HUNTRE KEIP/TIMES NEWS

Published August 01. 2019 12:29PM

Styrofoam swimming floaties, the sun, sand and snacks sounds like the perfect combination for a beach day, but one local library decided to bring it indoors.

Panther Valley Public Library hosted A Universe of Stories, a six-week science reading program for children ages 3-8.

The program started on June 25 and lasts through Aug. 6. Depending on age, the children were divided into two groups, and the lessons were taught on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The children learned the basic fundamentals of sciences such as the planets, constellations, plant life and more.

“We’re learning a lot about the planets and the constellations. We made a lot of projects, too,” Dallas Clark of Nesquehoning said.

Each lesson began with story time, and ended with some science projects, along with a few snacks in between. Readers were able to make their own planets, rockets and constellations using Post-it notes, stickers, Styrofoam noodles and more. They used a lot of their own creativity to stay interested about the things they learned.

Learning about the universe was a main component of the program, but they were also taught about the matter they see every day. During one lesson, they viewed seaweed, dirt, weeds, sand and honeycomb under a microscope.

All of the children became scientists, but they went back to being readers once they left the library. As part of the program, participants took out books from the library and tracked their progress on a reading log. If a child reached a certain point, he or she received a prize.

“Our main goal of this program was to keep children reading during the summer months, whether it was to increase or maintain their reading ability was of most importance to us,” secretary of the Panther Valley Public Library and instructor of the program Dawn Neyer said.

After the program’s conclusion, the library prepares for the preschool reading program, which is set for Sept. 10. It will run through Dec. 17.

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