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Wichita to provide free summer learning programs for students, free transportation

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If you’re looking for free fun and mind-engaging summer activities for your student — the local library has you covered.

Wichita Public Library will host a range of events this summer to help students keep their minds sharp and stimulated to avoid “learning loss” when school starts again in the fall, said Sean Jones, library communication specialist.

“A lot of kids who aren’t in school typically go through a little bit of learning loss when their minds aren’t stimulated,” Jones said. “So the summer reading program and a lot of our other programs and events, like the teen hackathon, are built to combat that.”

If transportation is a problem, don’t worry. The city is providing free and unlimited bus rides through Wichita Transit Monday through Saturday until Aug. 31. Youth need to present a school ID in order to gain entry on the bus. Students without an ID can visit Wichita Transit Center to receive a free ID, according to the city.

The events range from reading programs for toddlers to high school students, movie screenings, and even a teen hackathon, or hacking marathon, where students will learn about creating apps and other technology.

Jones said summer at the library allows students to engage with learning on their own terms.

“During the school year (students are) really guided as to what they need to learn — but during the summer it’s kind of free reign and they can come in and pick out books that they’re really interested in,” Jones said. “Instead of maybe reading a novel, they pick up a graphic novel, or a comic book, to read.”

Here are some of the events available at the library this summer:

  • Summer Reading Programs: Reading program groups will be available until July 19 to youth of all ages with a chance to win prizes after completing reading activities. The programs are split into three groups: Baby Bookworms for children age 2 and under, Kids Read for ages 3 to fifth-grade, and Teens Read for grades six to 12th. The programs are available at any library location. Those interested can register online, or call 316-261-8500 for more information.
  • Family Movie Fridays: Family-friendly films will be screened at the library at 2:30 p.m. every Friday until July 19 in the Allison Dondlinger Children’s Gallery and the Reading Theatre at the Advanced Learning Library, 711 W. Second St.., Wichita. Some of the scheduled films include: The Last Mimzy, Race to Witch Mountain and Treasure Planet.

  • Teen Tuesdays: At 3 p.m. every Tuesday until July 16, students in grades six through 12 are invited to the Teen Pavillion at the Advanced Learning Library to play games, discuss books and enjoy snacks.
  • Teen Hackathon: On June 27-28 the library will host its first hackathon, where students ages 14-18 will team up with each other and community mentors over two days to create application technology or another technology-based service. The theme of the hackathon is “Use Technology to Monitor One Healthy Habit.” Participants will work in groups with help from local mentors and provided resources from the library. The projects will be judged and the top three projects will be awarded. The event will begin June 27 and last until the afternoon of June 28 at the Advanced Learning Library. Those interested should register online at www.wichitalibrary.org/teenhackathon

More information and summer programs can be found online at Wichita Public Library’s event calendar. Just click on the “Events” link at www.wichitalibrary.org.

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