This summer, read for the fun of it!

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We all know that reading is important, but did you know just how important it is to read over the summer?

Kids who don’t read during their summer break can end up with a reading loss of three months. By middle school, this can add up to a reading achievement gap of up to two years!

At the library, our goal is to help prevent that gap. We provide lots of interesting books that show kids that reading can be fun. And, of course, they get great prizes for reading too.

This year’s Summer Reading Club theme at the Columbus Metropolitan Library is "Game On. Read." Our mission: to create experiences that encourage, support and motivate people of all ages to read every day. We have revamped the program this year to help fulfill that mission and to make it more exciting, flexible, and efficient for the whole family.

This year, we want to make reading a family experience. In that spirit, the whole family will keep their scores on their own reading records in the same way, by making their way through a gameboard. All of the reading records have 40 spaces to move through. And anyone who has (or gets) a library card gets two bonus points!

To move ahead a space, kids can do any of the following: read for 20 minutes, attend a program, or complete an online activity at summerreadingclub.com. Prizes kids can earn include: a better-than-ever coupon page, with coupons for free food, the Columbus Zoo, Zoombezi Bay, and even a free pass to a Blue Jackets game; a raffle entry to win a free bike; and a colorful, durable backpack to hold all of those library books. After kids have finished the program, they can keep reading to get two chances to vote for their favorite Columbus Zoo animal! The library will help support the winning animal with food and other supplies.

    

Think you can’t sign up your baby or toddler for Summer Reading Club? Think again! Being read to as a little one is extremely important, and is a major factor in brain stimulation and reading readiness.

This year we have a special reading record just for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. A pre-reader can move ahead a space by doing any of the following: being read to for 15 minutes; attending a library program; or completing a Ready to Read activity. Ready to Read activities help your child develop early literacy skills, which are the things they need to know before they start to read. For information, visit your local library or go to www.columbuslibrary.org.

We have a club just for teens too (ages 12-17). To move ahead a space on their gameboard, teens can: read for 30 minutes, attend a library program, or complete an online activity at summerreadingclub.com. Teen prizes include a coupon sheet with lots of free stuff; a free book (we have great teen titles to choose from); and a raffle entry to win your own Nintendo DS!

And of course, there’s a club for adults, too. It’s important for adults to set a good example and show kids that reading is fun, and best of all, you can make Summer Reading Club a family activity. Adults get to move ahead on their gameboard by reading, listening to an audio book, completing an online activity at summerreadingclub.com – but they can also move ahead a space by reading to a child or attending a program with their child. So bring your child to storytime, read some books together, and get free stuff. Adults will get two raffle chances to win a Library Prize Pack, which includes a free canvas bag, a $10 gift certificate for library book sales, and a free membership to Friends of the Library. The grand prize raffle will be for a free pair of tickets to a Blue Jackets game.

There are lots of great programs happening this summer for kids and teens at the Southeast Branch. Join us June 7 anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to celebrate the kickoff of Summer Reading Club, along with our Friends of the Library booksale. Other great programs for kids include weekly storytimes, the Turtle Lady,  llamas, magic shows, science programs, wild animals, and much more.

We also have lots of cool programs for teens this summer, including Manga & Cartooning, Gock Puppets, Henna Tattoos, Electronic Music Production, a Teen Book Club, and lots of gaming programs, with Wii, Guitar Hero, and more. And remember, everybody gets to move ahead a space on their reading record for attending a program!

For information, call 645-2ASK or visit www.summerreadingclub.com.

This summer, read for the fun of it at your library!

Jami Ingledue is Youth Services Team Leader at the Southeast Branch Library.

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