Getting teenagers to read can be hard enough during the school year. Imagine the uphill battle librarians Currie Meyer and Alison Lambart face when trying to motivate teens to read during the summer months.
Despite that struggle, Meyer, Bud Werner Memorial Library's youth librarian, and Lambart, her assistant, keep at it year after year. This summer they hope to motivate teens to read through the library's revised summer reading program.
The program seeks to inspire children and teenagers to read for enjoyment during the summer months, as well as to attract children and families to the library.
"We're always trying to find better ways to meet those goals," Meyer said. "We try to listen to what kids want and to meet their expectations."
The program, which includes separate programs for elementary school-aged students and middle schoolers and teenagers, has been a hit with younger readers. Last summer, 190 children 5 to 10 years old participated in the program.
However, only 39 teens took part in the program designed specifically for their age level and interests. Meyer and Lambart hope that number increases this year with the "Cinema Summer" reading theme. Interested teens are invited to stop by the library and pick up a "Reel Reads" card. Those who read 1,000 pages by Aug. 6 can turn the card into the library for a $10 gift certificate to either Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Potter's Wheel or The Silver Lining.
Teens also can stop by the library to answer daily trivia questions. Prizes will include milkshakes, movie passes and tickets to the Howler Alpine Slide.
"All the program is about is getting kids to keep on reading throughout the summer and to make it as fun as we can make it," Lambart said.
The Cinema Summer theme seeks to capitalize on the slate of teen-interest movies scheduled to be released this summer, including the latest installment of Harry Potter. Lambart and Meyer hope to emphasize to teens that many of their favorite movies are based on books, many of which are often better than their big-screen adaptation. As part of that effort the library is assembling checkout packages that include a book, its movie and a bag of popcorn.
For the younger readers Lambart and Meyer have developed the "Read Around the World" program. Like the teen program, Read Around the World will run from Monday through Aug. 6.
"The idea is really centered around the upcoming Olympics," Meyer said. "We just felt like it would be an exciting theme for this town," particularly with its international and Olympic influences.
Similar to previous children's programs, Read Around the World aims to motivate children to read a total of 24 hours over the course of the summer. Children can receive prizes from the library as they meet certain reading goals along the way.
"As kids read, the prizes get bigger and better," Meyer said.
Completing the program can result in a new book for the young reader. Reading doesn't have to be done at the library, and it can include parents reading to their children and vice versa.
Meyer said keeping children reading during the summer is valuable for comprehension skills as well as reading, writing and spelling.
The children's program kicks off Thursday, when children can go to the library and have a Polaroid picture taken with Buddy the dog, the Read Around the World program's official mascot. The picture will go in a "passport" for each participating child.
"It's going to be fun," Lambart said.
Other activities that coincide with the program include Story and Hands-On Fun activities, evening entertainment, trivia raffles and the Book Pals program. Story time for preschoolers and toddlers also will continue throughout the summer.
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