Summer reading clubs for kids start June 1

May 25, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

Sleeping in, visiting the beach and reading at your leisure rather than studying textbooks are among the pleasures of summer, which arrives in 27 days.

But young readers don't have to wait that long to join the Washington County Free Library's free summer reading clubs, which have a road-trip theme this year.

Registration begins Friday, June 1, and the program runs through Friday, Aug. 31, said Jeff Ridgeway, head of the Children's Services for the county library system. Youths can pick up a game board, small book bag and pencil at the Central Library's Children's Department in downtown Hagerstown, on the bookmobile, or at any of the library branches in the county.

There are three different game boards for three age groups, Ridgeway said. The age groups are birth through age 3; children of preschool and elementary school age; and middle- and high-school ages.


Each game board requires youths to read library books (or parents to read books aloud), plus there are activities to do such as having toddlers talk to a librarian and act out a story they've read. Activities for elementary-age youths include reading outside and reading with a friend or pet. Middle- and high-schoolers are asked to write a local legend or true, weird tale from their community, read and make a recipe, and use the Internet for some tasks.

Youths who finish "trips" on the game boards receive prizes. Prizes, depending on each youth's age group, include a small inflatable beach ball, a balloon car or a rubber bracelet, Ridgeway said. Middle- and high-schoolers who finish can enter their names for nine chances to win one of several gift certificates to local businesses.

Youths who finish will receive a ticket to the Aug. 17 Hagerstown Suns game, and their family will receive a discount voucher for tickets, Ridgeway said. Chick-fil-A will give youths a small ice cream cone for registering and a kid's meal for finishing.

About 2,000 youths countywide have participated each year in recent years, Ridgeway said.

"We want them to continue their reading during the summer to continue their progress in school," Ridgeway said. Studies have shown that youths who read throughout summer are in a better position to do well when school resumes, he said.

Library officials also want everyone in the community to be lifelong library users, Ridgeway said. They want to instill reading in young people through programs such as the summer reading club.

If you go ...

WHAT: The kickoff for Washington County Free Library's summer reading clubs for children

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday,June 15

WHERE: Washington County Free Library, 100 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

COST: Free

MORE: Animal Adventures will have a display of small animals and there will be ice cream, games and craft activities for youths participating in the summer reading clubs. For more information, contact the library's Children's Department by calling 301-739-3250, ext. 132.

Courtesy of Baltimore County Public Library

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