Read to­gether

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

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.

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