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Summer reading programs offer incentives to all readers


Beatrice Demaree signs up for Rocky River Public Library's "Dream Big – Read" summer program. (Photo courtesy of Rocky River Public Library)

Zoe Hess reads to therapy dog Baby as part of the "Reading Partner Program," which pairs young readers with older students for reading sessions. (Photo courtesy of Rocky River Public Library)

Rocky River

By Sue Botos

Many students may groan when presented with a list of summer reading by their teachers, but the Rocky River Public Library is offering sweet enticements for readers of all ages to take a book to the beach.

In partnership with local vendors and the Friends of the Library, the summer reading programs are offering up treats in exchange for time spent with a book, either the traditional way or by using an e-reader or reading to a friend or family member.

Asked recently if the program has gotten off to a good start, children’s services manager Lucy Carney replied, “Oh gosh, yes. Over 621 kids say reading is great.” She said that 369 children, from preschool to middle school age, registered during the kickoff week in June for this summer’s program, the theme of which was “Dream Big – Read.” Sign-ups are being accepted throughout the summer until the official end of the program on Aug. 11.

 Carney said that for every book or every 30 minutes of reading, students can present a fun “report” either written, oral or by drawing. They then receive a reward to mark their progress. One of the most popular prizes, according to Carney, is a “Fabulous Cookie” from Wild Flour Bakery. There are also weekly and ongoing drawings. “The more you read, the more chances you have to win,” she said.

Carney added that those required reading lists also can count toward prizes, as well as introduce students to books they may not otherwise pick up.

Aside from solo reading, students can also earn credit during various other activities offered at the library. Recently, participants in the Reading Partner Program, which pairs young readers with older students for a positive reading experience, had the chance to read to Baby, a reading therapy dog. Students can also read to younger siblings or parents.

The incentives don’t stop with young readers. Adults and teens are also offered enticements to pick up a book or two. “This is a more free-flowing program. You sign up and read as little or as much as you want,” explained adult services manager Steve Haas.

For each book read, adults and teens fill out an entry slip for a weekly drawing of a gift basket stuffed with such goodies as gift cards and books. Haas said there is a different theme each week, and baskets can be previewed on the library’s Facebook page ( Baskets are also being offered for those in the library’s outreach program, which provides materials to those with limited mobility. The more books read, the more chances readers get for a grand prize of a Sony e-reader.

So far, Haas said, 268 adults have signed on, surpassing last year’s total of 262. The teen numbers are less, but Haas said he is optimistic that the hot summer will continue to bring patrons into the library.

Haas said that often, librarians and patrons will hold mini book discussions while filling out their weekly entries. “This is a nice way to promote a love of reading,” he noted.



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