Statistics have shown that children who continue to read during the summer enter the next school year better prepared.
Janet Hesse reads to her son Christopher, 5, at the Walter C. Gibbs Library on Belair Road on May 5 in Evans. The library has several reading programs planned for the summer.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
That's why the six counties of the East Central Georgia Regional Library area are again offering a summer reading program. The program, themed "Step to the Beat - READ!" begins June 1 at all area libraries.
According to Pam Link, children's librarian at Warren C. Gibbs Library in Evans, each year brings more participants.
"We always have an increase of about 100," Link said. "But last year, we went from about 1,500 (the previous year) to over 1,800. Last year was our biggest increase."
The reading program, which is open to the youngest of readers, offers incentives for children who read 20 books or for 10 hours. Parents can read to young children who have not yet learned to read and earn the incentive prizes for them.
"We want children to view the library as a fun place to be in the summertime," said Kleo Hidalgo, a reference librarian at Gibbs.
Sponsors for this summer's program include Papa John's Pizza, Stevi B's Pizza, the Augusta GreenJackets, Dairy Queen, Publix and Waffle House. Each location will play host to various activities planned around the theme throughout the summer, including craft time and puppet shows.
Individuals interested in participating in the program, which runs through July 30, will be able to pick up summer reading packets on June 1.
"This is on a first-come, first-served basis," Link said, noting that the program can be started mid-stream. "It doesn't take long to read 20 books or 10 hours."
According to Natalie Jones, assistant librarian at Gibbs, the reading packets also will include bookmarks, flutes and other music-related toys.
"Rock and Read Tours" is a summer reading program geared toward middle school pupils, Hidalgo said. This program is specifically aimed toward older students, and incentives will vary somewhat.
"There's always that black hole for middle school students, and we wanted to develop a program just for them," Hidalgo said. Crafts geared more to their age as well as movie nights for boys and girls are planned.
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