Stories come alive with cooking, crafts at Parks & Rec.

By: Amy Filippone, Dept. of Parks & Recreation

This summer the Moorestown Parks and Recreation Department will offer two book clubs – one for second and third graders and one for fourth and fifth graders (rising fall 2019). Children will meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays for two weeks where they will discuss and explore their book’s characters, settings and themes.

Samantha Ulman will lead the sessions. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and has a bachelor of arts in English and a master’s degree in English education. She has also taught middle school English.

“We wanted to keep it on the small side, so everyone could participate,” Ulman said. “If you get too many it becomes more like a classroom, and kids fall by the wayside if they don’t have quite as much to say.”

Beyond general discussion of the books, the children will experience the book on a deeper level.

“It’s like a well-rounded sensory experience,” Ulman said. “It’s not just the reading of the book; it’s also a discussion of the background of the characters, the setting and possibly the time period that we can explore through other means like arts and crafts, themed food preparation and music.”

The Book Club choice for fourth and fifth graders will be the summer reading pick for the Upper Elementary School, which is “Wishtree” by Katherine Applegate. The session dates are Aug. 6 and Aug. 13 as well as Friday, Aug. 9 and Aug. 16 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. A valuable technique Ulman will introduce to young readers is annotating.

“I’d like to impart to the kids how to annotate as they read,” Ulman said. “They can take notes as they read on post-its about anything that grabs their attention, and we can use them as starting points for discussions. Annotating is a great skill that the kids are going to need as they get older in school.”

For the younger kids in second and third grades, book club will be on the same dates from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Their book “Toys Go Out”  is about toys that come to life when a little girl is not paying attention or asleep and the different adventures they get into. It was chosen for its appeal to both boys and girls.

“It’s funny and very relatable,” Ulman said. “A lot of kids who love to read will get a kick out of the book because they are reading more of ‘big kid’ chapter book. It’s not a picture book, and we’ll do some fun activities, like arts and crafts or a food preparation activity that goes along with what’s happening in the novel.”

Aside from getting together with their friends, Ms. Ulman said it’s going to teach them a lot of good socialization skills too such as waiting for your turn and listening to your friends.

To register and for full details visit www.moorestownrec.com