Halfway Through A Summer Of Reading

Photo: Kelley Gaston

Children who read 20 books during the Booth Library Summer Reading Program can choose a book to take home from a cart located in the Children’s Department at the library. They also have their photo taken and added to a display in the department. 

This week marks the halfway point of C.H. Booth Library’s Summer Reading Program, “Fizz, Boom, READ!”

This summer, readers who wish to participate in the Summer Reading Program have two options: They can fill out a traditional paper log of what they have read, or they can set up an online account through Summer Reader. The latter option allows participants to create a username and password, said Children’s Librarian Alana Bennison.

“We figure having the choice to partake in the Summer Reading Program online is easier and more convenient for people. All a person needs is WiFi, and they can sign up,” said Ms Bennison.

With three different levels of Summer Reading, from prekindergarten to adult, and more than 40,000 books, including eBooks, there is something for everyone, according to Ms Bennison.

Ms Bennison also said that numbers are about the same in terms of Summer Reading Program participants this summer in comparison to last summer. 

“We’re hoping that being able to sign up for summer reading online will encourage more people to sign up for the program next summer,” she said. 

Although the program is offered online, it hasn’t eliminated the need for interaction and personal connection, said Ms Bennison. For this reason, the library has more than 40 young adult volunteers who read and interact with children.

“Children are making connections with good role models,” said Librarian Candice Woods, who helped organize the Summer Reading Program. “It’s a win-win for kids and volunteers. You end up making connections with these kids, and seeing their growth, that’s the most rewarding thing.”

Although personal connection is very important for children, Ms Bennison said, the connection with books and reading is also essential.

“You can’t make that connection too soon,” Ms Bennison said. “It’s important to start the habit of reading early because the older children get, the harder it is to make that connection.”

With this in mind, the library has set up a “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program thanks to the Friends of the C.H. Booth Library. Those who complete the challenge win a tote bag.

In terms of prizes for the Summer Reading Program, local businesses have been very supportive, said Ms Woods.

For every five books read, a participant’s name is entered into a raffle where readers will have the chance to win a number of prizes. Some of these include Cave Comics books and comics, a $25 gift certificate to Ferris Acres Creamery, a four-pack of movie tickets to Edmond Town Hall, a free manicure at Nina Nail Spa, and more. My Place Pizza & Restaurant has also supported the Summer Reading Program for years by giving out slices of pizza to those who read five books, according to the library staff.

Children who read 20 books can choose a book to take home from a cart located in the Children’s Department at the library.

“I think one of the greatest prizes is when kids read 20 books, because they get their photo taken and put on the wall in the Children’s Department at the library,” said Ms Woods. “It’s very exciting for children.”

Lisa Cohane, a library assistant, created the board of kids’ pictures.

“She’s really good at designing and creating,” said Ms Bennison.

“I’m always amazed at what she comes up with,” said Ms Woods.

The Summer Reading Program has been happening for over 30 years, said Ms Bennison.

“We want to set up a program like this for the fall and winter to show kids that reading isn’t only important in the summer, but all year long,” said Ms Bennison.

Ms Bennison also encouraged residents under the age of 19 to submit stories for “New Stories for Newtown.”

The program began last year, but new this year is a contest for writers and artists age 19 and under. More information and an entry form for the New Stories For Newtown: Words and Images contest is available online at Facebook.com/ NewStoriesforNewtown or at chboothlibrary.org. Original works of art, illustration, poetry, fiction, graphic novels, digital art, paintings, collages, prints, fabric art, and photography will be accepted through August 30. Mixed media or three-dimensional pieces can be submitted via a clear photograph of the piece. Each piece must relate to the theme “What inspires me.”

For more information on the Summer Reading Program or “New Stories for Newtown,” visit www.chboothlibrary.org.


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