It's Wednesday afternoon in the CCPL Teen Room, and we are busy! It's great to see the area teens coming in to the library for reading and recreation. This afternoon, we are heavy on the recreation side, as we have our gaming equipment out for them to play. However, our statistics for the past week -- since the last day of school -- show that our teens are reading, too.
We invite Gillette-area teens to earn some extra rewards for reading by participating in our teen summer reading program. This summer's theme is "Own The Night", and we'll be playing with that theme in our afternoon activities through July. Starting on Monday, June 11, teen are invited to drop in to the Teen Room from 1 to 4 p.m. to explore various crafts, quizzes, and trivia contests.
Although the gaming and the drop-in activities are lots of fun, the basis for any summer reading program is, well, the reading. While we at CCPL think that reading is its own reward, we also know that some teens need the added incentive provided by earning prizes. Reading over the summer has been proven to be a key factor in preventing the "summer slide" -- a drop in grade level in both reading and math abilities that often happens to students over a long break from school. Therefore, we are not above offering prizes to teens for reading -- keeping them at grade level is so crucial to the following school year's success.
So, here's how our local program works: Teens come to the Young Adult department to pick up a reading log, and then track their reading from now until August 1. They can choose to read whatever they like -- fiction, nonfiction, magazines, graphic novels, newspapers. As they keep track, they earn prizes for each level of the program they reach. Incentives for reading range
from small items at level 1, such as slap bracelets and key chains, to
free pizzas and free books at the higher levels. In addition, at each level they also earn a raffle ticket for one of three grand prize baskets; we'll draw the winners of these at our final celebration on August 1.
This summer, we've made an important change in our program in an effort to better promote literacy: teens can choose whether they keep track of the pages they read, or the hours. For years, we've had them track their pages; this puts slow readers at a real disadvantage, however, and some teens chose not to participate, or to give up the program early. We hope that, by providing an option this year, more teens will complete all five levels of our reading program. With this change, a level now equals 500 pages, or 5 hours of reading.
Finally, we will be featuring YA fiction and nonfiction that relates thematically to the "Own the Night" theme. These books will correspond to each week's programming theme, beginning with zombie and monster books next week. Stay tuned; I'll be writing about those books weekly on this blog, as well.
It's really all about promoting literacy -- whether we do it by offering teens prizes, by offering them choice, or by offering interesting and unusual things to read. Whatever it takes! Once teens have reading skills - once they are literate -- they can "own the night", and the daytime, too.