University City

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Summer Reading programs kick off this week

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Summer Reading Program isn’t just about books. Plenty of activities throughout the summer can count as logged hours toward prizes.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Summer Reading Program isn’t just about books. Plenty of activities throughout the summer can count as logged hours toward prizes. CHARLOTTE MECKLENBURG LIBRARY

At school, progress is measured in letter grades.

At the library during summer, it’s measured in ice cream, biodegradable speakers and book-fine waiver coupons.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Summer Reading program begins June 15 and runs until Aug. 15. During that time, residents of all ages will have plenty of opportunities to read their way to prizes designed to help keep them engaged in the kinds of learning that often fall off once the last school bell rings in June.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, children lose about two months’ worth of grade-level knowledge during summer if they don’t keep their brains actively learning. Experts recommend that reading at least 30 minutes each day can decrease that fall-off.

“We really want them to prevent that summer slide by having them read at least a little bit every day,” said Jesse Isley, children’s manager at the University City Regional Library. “We find that the Summer Reading program is a great way to encourage that.”

All 20 branches that make up the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system will host celebrations in the coming days to launch their Summer Reading programs.

University City Regional Library will hold three separate events this week:

▪ The Adult Summer Reading Kickoff takes place at the branch from 2-4 p.m. June 15. This year’s theme, “Escape the Ordinary,” will spotlight books on travel, career change, cooking and gardening. It’s a chance for adults and seniors to enjoy refreshments while they talk books with others who share their interests.

▪ Youths age 12 to 18 can dress like superheroes or villains for the Teen Summer Reading 2015: Heroes Versus Villains Kickoff Party from 2-4 p.m. June 16. The event will feature games, refreshments and even the chance to make personalized capes.

▪ The Children’s Summer Reading Kickoff, for 5- to 12-year-olds, will run from 2-2:45 p.m. June 18 and also feature a superhero and villain theme. The program includes a magic show from popular local magician Professor Whizzpop.

To join the Summer Reading program and become eligible for prizes, sign up in person at the library or online at www.cmlibrary.org/programs/summer_reading/2015.

Prizes are awarded after reaching 10-, 20-, and 30-hour reading goals and include popular books, earth-friendly totes, sweet treats, collapsible cardboard speakers and eligibility for yet-to-be-announced grand prizes at the end of the program’s run. Everyone receives a $5 book-fine waiver for signing up.

Reading material includes not just books but comics, newspapers, magazines, websites and audio books. School-age children receive credit when someone reads to them, and participation in any of the library’s other summer programs also can be counted.

Last year, 3,724 people participated in University City Regional Library’s Summer Reading program. Isley said she hopes to see those numbers continue to grow.

“Reading is really important for lots of reasons,” she said, “but the reason we focus on it in the summer is the benefit kids get from reading all summer long and maintaining the reading skills that they’ve learned during the school year.”

Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at lisathornton@followmylede.com.

Want to go?

University City Regional Library’s Summer Reading Program Kickoff will be at the library, 301 E. W.T. Harris Blvd..

For information or to sign up, visit www.cmlibrary.org/programs/summer_reading/2015.

▪ Adult Summer Reading Kickoff, 2-4 p.m. June 15.

▪ Teen Summer Reading 2015: Heroes Versus Villains Kickoff Party, 2-4 p.m. June 16.

▪ Children’s Summer Reading Kickoff, 2-2:45 p.m. June 18.

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