Li­brary aims to ‘Build a Bet­ter World’ with sum­mer read­ing

Sum­mer read­ing pro­gram mo­ti­vates fam­i­lies to keep minds ac­tive over sum­mer break

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JESSI STICKEL

Whether it’s on the couch, in the li­brary or by the pool, Charles County Pub­lic Li­brar y is chal­leng­ing chil­dren and adults to read more this sum­mer and be re­warded for it.

“Build a Bet­ter World” is this year’s theme of the li­brary’s sum­mer read­ing chal­lenge. The pro­gram be­gan June 1 and ends Aug. 26. Chil­dren and adults log their read­ing min­utes and par­tic­i­pate in ac­tiv­i­ties on­line in or­der to win prizes.

“It is very ben­e­fi­cial to kids to par­tic­i­pate in the Sum­mer Read­ing Pro­gram be­cause it helps com­bat the ‘sum­mer slide,’ help­ing kids to keep up on the skills they learned the pre­vi­ous school year so that they are ready to con­tinue learn­ing when they re­turn to school,” Sarah An­der­son, chil­dren’s li­brar­ian, Po­tomac Branch, said.

“It also helps en­cour­age a life­long love of read­ing and can re­ally help draw in re­luc­tant read­ers.”

Cus­tomers can reg­is­ter them­selves and their chil­dren on­line at Once reg­is­tered, adults and chil­dren can start read­ing and par­tic­i­pat­ing on­line.

Par­tic­i­pants can earn badges by log­ging min­utes spent read­ing, writ­ing re­views of books they have read and com­plet­ing chal­lenges. For ev­ery 15 badges, par­tic­i­pants earn one entr y into the grand prize draw­ing for a Kin­dle Fire HD tablet and one entr y into the reg­u­lar prize draw­ings at their lo­cal li­brary branch, which in­cludes prizes such as tick­ets to the Mary­land Sci­ence Cen­ter, LEGO kits and Ama­zon gift cards, An­der­son said.

Melinda Jack­owski of La Plata said her two daugh­ters Emma, 8, and Is­abelle, 5, reg­u­larly par­tic­i­pate in the sum­mer read­ing pro­gram.

“Emma ac­tu­ally won two prizes for do­ing her read­ing one year, so she liked that,” Jack­owski said. “The prizes are a good mo­ti­va­tion for them to read.”

Jack­owski said her fam­ily has been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram for sev­eral years. She likes that the pro­gram of­fers free events dur­ing the sum­mer and that it is a fun learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for her chil­dren.

This is the Charles County Pub­lic Li­brary’s 15th year putting on the sum­mer read­ing chal­lenge; how­ever, it is the first year they are us­ing Beanstack, an on­line site that lets “li­brary cus­tomers log their read­ing, write re­views, cre­ate wish lists of what they want to read in the fu­ture, read peer re­views and par­tic­i­pate in chal­lenges,” Sarah Guy, pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor, said

The Beanstack site al­lows li­brar­i­ans to cre­ate cus­tom­ized chal­lenges that ap­peal to their cus­tomers, Guy said.

“For ex­am­ple, at the re­quests of some of the schools in Charles County, we have chal­lenges that en­cour­age kids to learn more about their school,” she said. “[The chal­lenges ask ques­tions like:] What does Pic­cow­axen mean? Who was Mil­ton Somers? Who was Gen­eral Small­wood?”

The Beanstack site is avail­able all year long, but there are more ac­tiv­i­ties and chal­lenges to par­tic­i­pate in when chil­dren are out of school dur­ing the sum­mer.

“We’ve had great feed­back from our cus­tomers and staff about how easy Beanstack is to use, so we’ll be us­ing the site for at least the next cou­ple years,” Guy said.

“This year we’re test­ing Beanstack’s new Photo Re­view op­tion, which has been a lot of fun. We’ve had cus­tomers do the Origami Chal­lenge and sub­mit pho­tos of what they’ve cre­ated,” she said. “We’ve had cus­tomers try a new recipe and show us pho­tos of tasty look­ing cook­ies and cakes.”

“The kids love all of the fun and en­gag­ing events we have all sum­mer long and that they can win lots of cool prizes,” An­der­son said. “The par­ents love that we have lots of fun and ed­u­ca­tional events morn­ings, af­ter­noons, evenings and week­ends to ac­com­mo­date dif­fer­ent sched­ules and that it is su­per easy to par­tic­i­pate.”

“It makes a great fam­ily ac­tiv­ity for the sum­mer,” An­der­son said.


Emma Jack­owski, 8, of La Plata browses the chil­dren’s books Thurs­day af­ter­noon at the La Plata branch li­brary.

Charles County Pub­lic Li­brary’s chil­dren sec­tion has com­put­ers ded­i­cated for sum­mer read­ing pro­gram use.

Charles County Pub­lic Li­brary is re­ward­ing chil­dren and adults for read­ing this sum­mer as part of their “Build a Bet­ter World,” chal­lenge.

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