The start of June means many things to different people: graduation time, the onset of summer, extended daylight hours.
But one of the most important things that June represents to us is the start of summer reading season, and many Cecil County Public Library patrons were more than happy to start picking up bundles of books last week.
About 20 readers signed up Wednesday at Elkton Central Library, said Rachel Wright, children’s services manager. This included a mix of families and even a group from a daycare.
“Everyone’s ready to start,” Wright said, adding patrons start asking when they can sign up starting in May.
For the summer, Wright said ghost stories like those by Mary Downing Hahn are often popular. She said young readers may also be interested in a new book from the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Rick Riordan, and the next book in the Disney Descendants series.
The Cecil County Public Library’s summer reading program — this year themed “On your mark, get set, READ!” — is open to children, teens and adults. Readers can sign up throughout the summer at any county library branch or the library’s website. The program ends Aug. 13 when participants turn in reading logs for a chance to win prizes, which range from a shopping gift card for adults to a scooter or Orioles tickets for kids. In 2015, the library counted more than 7,100 summer reading participants.
In the summer, the Keathley family visits the library at least once a week, mom Krista Keathley said. On Wednesday, she brought 5-year-old twins Carrie and Melina to checkout books and movies at Elkton Central.
“Their grandma was a librarian,” Keathley said, adding favorites for her children include the Elephant and Piggie series and anything by Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss is also a favorite of the Watson children. Also on Wednesday, Detalia Watson brought her children, students at Thompson Estates Elementary School, to sign up for summer reading. “We read every night,” Watson said. She said it was the first time she signed herself up, and before didn’t know about the adult summer reading program. Adults can get a log that will track every five books they read — audiobooks and Gale Online Courses count too. Similar to the children and teen’s program, adults can earn one prize entry for every five books or courses completed. And the very young can also participate. Newborns to rising fifth-graders can track how much they read (or listen to) in 15-minute increments, with reading logs tracking four hours total.
While signing up her 12-year-old daughter, a student at Tri-State Christian Academy, Laura Stringer also got a reading log for her 11-month-old son. Favorites of her daughter, who is in the teen reading program and must track also 15 minutes of reading but for a total of six hours, include the Goosebumps and Baby-Sitter Club series.
“We need more programs like this for kids and families,” Stringer said.
The importance of summer reading cannot be understated. The School Library Journal reports that about 33 percent of summer reading participants were more likely to read above grade level, compared to about 18 percent of nonparticipants.
Participating in summer reading programs builds well-balanced young adults with a curiosity for learning — a good characteristic for adults as well. If you haven’t enrolled your child in the CCPL program, we recommend doing so. We also suggest that you spend some time reading to or with your children this summer, a good way to bond together.