Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:43PM - 122 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

It was anything but quiet at the Portsmouth Public Library on Saturday, where dozens of kids enjoyed the Summer Reading Finale Carnival.

Every year, the library hosts a reading program to encourage kids to keep reading through the summer while they are away from school. As kids read more books and reach milestones, they are awarded with tickets that entitle them to special events and prizes at the end of the year.

“In the past we’ve had a lot more funds to do individual prizes for the kids, but this year we didn’t have as much when our budget got cut. So we decided to throw one big prize event for all the kids. We’ve got kids that have finished their summer reading, and did all of their requirements for it so they ended up with a few more tickets. And we welcome any of the kids who were in it, or want to come,” said Grace Peach, publicity coordinator for the Portsmouth Public Library.

This year’s summer reading theme was “Dream big. Read,” with library activities such as a pajama party, and activities with monsters, aliens, and other fantasy creatures. There also was a young adult component for ages 13-18, and even an adult program for ages 18 and up.

“Some kids don’t get any educational anything during the summer, and we want to make sure that they’re still using those reading skills that they worked so hard on through the year and get them ready to head back to school,” Peach said.

At the event on Saturday, kids enjoyed playing on the large inflatable castle and slide, dunking library employees in the water tank, enjoying tasty snacks of popcorn and snowcones, toy duck ponds, and reading with Little Bear the Tail Waggin’ Tutor — dressed playfully in a silly clown’s wig, over-sized bow tie and glasses.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors is a program of Therapy Dogs International; a volunteer group from Flanders, N.J., organized to provide qualified handlers and therapy dogs for visitation in a variety of facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes. The Tail Waggin’ Tutors program brings therapy dogs into the classroom and libraries as stand-in audience for children to read aloud, to teach them confidence and encourage public speaking.

For more information about events happening at the Portsmouth Public Library, find them online at www.yourppl.org,.

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or rottney@heartlandpublications.com.

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