Students Say “Libraries Rock!” With New Summer Reading Prizes
Schools and librarians are working hard this month to help students prevent the dreaded “summer slide,” by encouraging them to register for the Summer Reading Fun program at Forsyth County Public Library.
Studies show that reading over the summer can help students retain more of what they learned during the school year and perform better when school starts again in August. A study from Dominican University even suggests that children who participate in summer reading programs have better reading scores by the end of third grade than students who did not participate.
“We even encourage preschoolers who can’t yet read independently to sign up and track the books that parents and caregivers read with them because it helps the child acquire early literacy skills and it sets them up for success when they get to kindergarten,” says Programming Manager Tracy Walker.
Over the last month, the library’s youth services team visited local preschools, elementary schools, and middle schools to lead assembly programs and talk with students about exciting changes to the summer reading program. This year’s summer reading theme is “Libraries ROCK!,” making for some very musical – and often hilarious – stories, skits, and puppet shows.
“Summer Reading in Forsyth has changed dramatically this year and the response we’ve already heard from students, teachers, and even parents, has been wonderful,” says Walker.
Instead of paper-based reading trackers, the library adopted new software that allows patrons to track their reading online. Rather than choosing one book for setting and reaching a summer reading goal, patrons can now earn points to exchange for new books, as well as a variety of other prizes.
“We want to encourage our patrons to read, but our new program also appeals to different learning styles and inspires extended learning in music, art, languages, physical activity, and helping others. These are all things you can do or learn about – for free – at the library,” adds Walker.
Registration for the summer reading program is open now on the library’s website at www.forsythpl.organd patrons of all ages are welcome to sign up, earn points, and win prizes.
When readers in preschool and grades K – 12 reach 100, 250, and 500 points, they can choose from such prizes as a small Frosty from Wendy’s, an action pass from Stars & Strikes, a Laser Quest pass, a new book, or other prizes while supplies last. Upon reaching 500 points, these participants are also entered in random drawings for such grand prizes as an eReader, Horseback Riding Adventures from Gold City Corral, Urban Escape Games passes, or a mountain bike or cruiser bike donated by Zaxby’s.
Adults who reach 500 points can enjoy the prize-winning fun, too. Adult readers will be entered in random drawings for one of several grand prize gift baskets, theater and movie tickets, services from local businesses, and eReaders.
Library leaders have been building relationships with sponsors and soliciting donations since January. Their work is evident in the nearly $30,000 worth of prize donations received from 34 local businesses and book donations from the FCPL Friends & Advocates, the non-profit organization that operates the Friends Bookstores inside the Cumming, Post Road, and Sharon Forks Libraries.
“We’re very fortunate to have a community that believes so strongly in the power of education and the importance of literacy that they’re willing to contribute so generously to the summer reading program. We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from each of our donors and sponsors,” says Walker.
Aside from registering for summer reading, it’s become a tradition for families to begin the summer with with the library’s series of Summer Reading Kick-Off Carnivals.
The Cumming Library’s Carnival will be held at the library on Wednesday, May 30 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will feature performances from Cameron’s One-Man Circus and balloon art from Once Upon a Fiesta, in addition to kid-friendly carnival games and prizes.
The fun continues on Thursday, May 31 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. as the Hampton Park Library’s Carnival also celebrates the start of summer with circus performances, balloon art, and games.
Once again the Post Road and Sharon Forks Libraries are teaming up to present a Kick-Off Carnival on Friday, June 1 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Forsyth Conferece Center, 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd., Cumming. The event will include two family-friendly acrobatic performances by Barely Balanced, plus Mr. Michael from The Learning Groove will appear in concert at 5:00 p.m.
Admission to each of the Summer Reading Kick-Off Carnivals is free and all ages are welcome to attend. Space at the acrobatic and concert performances will be limited and early arrival is recommended.
Following the Kick-Off Carnivals, Forsyth’s libraries will present more than 400 programs before school starts again in August.
“There’s something for patrons of all ages at each of our libraries year round, but especially this summer,” explains Walker. “We’ve got a new summer book club for parents of elementary and middle school students and local celebrity angler Ken Sturdivant is teaching a series of eight classes on fishing in Lake Lanier. We’ve scheduled musical performances and art programs for children and adults, special events just for tweens and teens, plus we’ve gone all-out with the storytimes and science-based programs our young patrons love.”
Walker encourages patrons to pick up a Summer Program Guide for their preferred library branch, or check the library’s online events calendar to sort and view programs by age and location.
For more information or to register for Summer Reading Fun, please visitwww.forsythpl.org.
Events at the Forsyth County libraries are part of our “65 Days of Summer” e-book. Download your copy right here – 65 Days of Summer.