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A Rocking Summer Of Reading At C. H. Booth Library



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Local children and young adults had a chance to “rock” at C.H. Booth Library this summer by participating in the library’s summer reading program. Children’s Librarian Alana Bennison and Young Adult Librarian Abbey Lynch recently reflected on the summer’s reading program.

The library had a reading challenge for children and a reading challenge for young adult readers. The programs kicked off near the start of July and ran until the third week in August. The theme for this year’s summer reading challenges was “Libraries Rock,” following the Connecticut State Library’s theme.

“It was good. We had a lot of kids participate,” said Ms Lynch on August 28.

The summer reading programs offered challenges and prizes for participants.

The young adult challenge asked readers to submit book summaries to receive one ticket for every 50 pages of a book they read. Drawings for prizes ran July 6 to 17.

Ms Lynch said prizes and gift certificates were awarded to readers in her program. Gift certificates were to places that included Edmond Town Hall, Ferris Acres Creamery, Holy Cow Ice Cream Shop, Byrd’s Books, and Newtown General Store.

Ms Lynch said 47 young adult readers read 287 books in her department’s program. This summer’s most popular authors, she added, were J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, and Angie Sage.

Ms Bennison said 350 local students registered for her department’s summer reading challenge, and they read 9,000 books. This year’s summer reading challenge for children included a Bingo component for the first time, and Ms Bennison said she is already thinking about other interactive challenges for coming years.

The summer reading challenge for children was promoted before schools let out in June. Ms Bennison and others spoke about the program at Hawley Elementary School and Middle Gate Elementary School during end of the year assemblies. State senator for Connecticut’s 28th District Tony Hwang attended both assemblies as the library’s 2018 Summer Reading Champion, and President and CEO of Ingersoll Automotive Todd Ingersoll presented a check at Hawley’s assembly, funding the prizes for this year’s reading program.

For the challenge, students completed Bingo cards. Each space on the cards had different challenges, like reading a book from a certain genre. After having each completed square of a card signed by an adult and having the completed Bingo card approved by library staff, children earned a raffle ticket to enter for a chance to win one of 20 different prizes, all paid for by Ingersoll Auto of Danbury. Prize items available through the raffle included a coding game, a quadcopter drone with a camera, Lego kits, and a Kindle Fire 7 Kids Edition, as previously reported in The Newtown Bee.

“We need to thank a lot of people for supporting [the program],” said Ms Bennison.

Along with parents and community members who provided support, Ms Bennison calculated 33 young adults volunteered 586 hours during the summer reading program. She estimates 1,900 children and adults attended programs — supported mostly by the Friends of C.H. Booth Library group — that were held at the library during the summer reading challenge.

Friends of C.H. Booth Library also donated coupons to the Little Book Store at the library for those who read at least 20 books or 1,000 pages. The group also donated prizes for a raffle.

Ms Bennison said the staff at C.H. Booth Library worked “extra hard over the summer” to oversee circulation, help children find “just the right book,” and oversee additional programs.

Overall, Ms Bennison said the 2018 summer reading challenge was a success, and she defines a successful reading program by how it helps children “wake up to the fact that reading can be fun.”

She emphasized the importance of having children continue to read throughout the school year.

“Now that you are in the reading habit, don’t let it go away,” she added.

More information about the library and its upcoming programs is available at chboothlibrary.org.

A display in the Children's Department at C. H. Booth Library celebrates local children who took part in its summer reading challenge. —Bee Photo, Hallabeck
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