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story.lead_photo.caption Library assistants Taylor Ireland and Heidi Porter stock the youth shelves at the Moniteau County Library. Kindergarten through eighth-graders are eligible to participate in 'A Universe of Stories' summer reading program. Photo by Danisha Hogue / California Democrat.

"A Universe of Stories" summer reading program will take students to space to explore more worlds at the Moniteau County Library.

In an attempt to fight the summer slide, programs target youth to make out-of-school learning fun.

"If kids aren't reading, traditionally, over the summer, they can lose the progress that they've made over the previous year," said library assistant Heidi Porter. "Summer reading program gives kids a chance to learn some new skills."

A registration and kickoff event is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. May 16. Incoming kindergartners through eighth-graders can receive a library card, program tracking booklet and play space-themed games.

From May 28 until July 26, participants earn points for checking out books, 50 cents per book, and attending programs, $1. Each point is added to their grand total to buy prizes at the end of the summer.

Some programming includes building rockets, creating sun catchers, Star Wars training camp and more.

Programs for kindergarteners through fourth-graders are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. every Thursday. Fifth- through eighth-grade programs are 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The library board approved extended hours to 8 p.m. on program days through Aug. 1. Last year, librarians cashed $1,200 worth of tickets in under four hours.

Prizes will include games, boogie boards, backpacks, slime, Bluetooth speakers and more. The prizes will be available July 29 thorugh Aug. 3.

A special space program with NASA Ambassador Joy Johnson is scheduled July 20, which is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon.

Johnson, eighth-grade science teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Jefferson City, will bring a "Back to the Moon'" anniversary program for all ages.

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