During the school year, kids stuff their growing brains with a ton of knowledge - then, come summertime, much of what they learned is lost to inactivity.

In the absence of school, the Mays Landing branch of the Atlantic County Public Library has stepped up to help, offering summer reading programs for kids aimed at preventing summer learning loss.

Jane Stanwood, senior librarian and organizer of the library's Burrow Into a Book with Me Book Club, said the first step in keeping kids academically active in the summertime is making it fun.

"We just want to encourage the love of reading, not just in a school setting but for enjoyment," Stanwood said.

At the book club's first meeting July 11, Stanwood read the kids a book from the Elephant and Piggy series called "There's a Bird on your Head," led them through a few craft projects and activities, and helped them pick out a few reading-level appropriate books.

The club will meet again July 25 and Aug. 1 to discuss the books they read, pick out new books and complete more fun crafts and activities. The club is geared toward kids in first and second grade, and has plenty of room for new members.

The Burrow Into a Book with Me Book Club is part of a larger summer reading program at the Mays Landing branch that includes a book club for fourth- and fifth-graders as well as other fun, engaging activities designed to promote learning during the summertime. A full schedule of programs is available at atlanticlibrary.org.

Bindiya Dave, a first-grader at Shaner School, was one of five kids who attended the July 11 meeting. Bindiya, who is an avid fan of the Elephant and Piggy series, said she enjoys reading for the values it teaches.

"Reading helps kids learn the stuff they need to learn," Bindiya said. "I like the books that have lessons in them."

Bindiya averages about a book a day during the summertime, said her father, Aksharesh.

She's a frequent patron of the library, he said, often leaving with three or four books at a time - something he is quick to encourage, saying it pays dividends during the school year.

"She can move ahead," Aksharesh said. "If she knows how to read right now, when she comes into the first grade, when she has to read and write, she'll be a little bit more advanced."

Reading affords kids a number of advantages, like an expanded vocabulary and higher test scores, but Bindiya doesn't read for its practical benefits, she said. She does it because it's fun.

"I really like to read, and I heard they had fun activities to learn about (at book club)," Bindiya said. "I love to learn."

Contact Braden Campbell:

609-272-7415

If you go

What: Burrow into a Book with Me Book Club .

When: 10:30 a.m. July 25 and Aug. 1.

Where: Atlantic County Library, Mays Landing Branch, 40 Farragut Ave.

How much: Free

More info: Call 609-625-2776, ext. 6304 or visit