Kids and teens spent 82,247 hours reading books, magazines and other materials this past summer during Pierce County Library System‚Äôs summer reading program‚Äîthat‚Äôs more hours than ever recorded during any previous summer reading programs.
In all, kids read 44 percent more hours during the Library‚Äôs summer reading program in 2007, when the children and teens read 56,890 hours.
‚ÄúWe are thrilled to see kids so excited about reading,‚Äù said Neel Parikh, executive director of Pierce County Library. ‚ÄúThe summer reading program encourages children to continue reading all year long and keep up with their skills. Reading in the summer is a great help especially when kids return to school in the fall.‚Äù
To kick off the summer reading program, librarians visited students in kindergarten through third grade to encourage them to participate. The Library focuses its program on kids in this age range because reading on grade level by third grade is critical for reading development and progress.
The Library reached nearly 25,000 children through its 2008 summer reading program, with the theme of ‚ÄúCatch the Reading Bug.‚Äù
When kids read a total of 10 hours throughout the 8-week program, they earned reading rewards such as a free pass to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek.
In the past couple of years, the Library has ramped up its program to involve and engage teenagers. This year teens participated in programs with the theme of ‚ÄúMetamorphosis.‚Äù
For every 10 hours a teen read, Friends of the Libraries donated money toward animal care at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
Teenagers who read 10 hours earned prizes such as a free one-week pass to Tacoma-Pierce County YMCA, and were eligible to enter a drawing to win one of three iPods, donated by Pierce County Library Foundation.
Winners of the iPods are Angela Burlingame, 18, Tacoma‚ÄîFranklin Pierce High School; Matthew Hallstrom, 13, Gig Harbor‚ÄîLighthouse Christian School; Joshua S. Walters, 13, Graham‚ÄîHome School.