There are a few treasures to find at the library this summer – and a free book is one of them.
The Cass County Public Library kicked off their annual summer reading program on June 3 by hosting a number of activities this week for children signing up for the “Dig Into Reading” themed reading incentive program.
Each year, contributions from the Cass County Library Foundation and the Peculiar Charitable Foundations allows the library to offer incentives to motivate children and teens to spend time reading during the few months they have off from school.
“We’re concerned that kids will maintain and improve their reading skills,” Cass County Public Youth Services Coordinator Marie Vallee said. “There are a lot of studies showing that kids who do not read during the summer lose their skills, and when they go back to school their reading scores are lower in August and September than what they were in May.”
The summer reading program runs through Saturday, July 13, and each reader who completes the established summer reading goal will receive a new book for them to keep.
The youngest participants, pre-readers, are required to record 25 “read-to-me” books. Readers through fifth grade are required to read 10 books, and students sixth through 12th grade are required to read five books.
The teen reading program theme is “Beneath the Surface.”
Participants who complete their reading goals will also receive a coupon from Pizza Hut for a free personal pan pizza.
Last year, 2,916 children participated in the program countywide. Vallee said the library hopes to reach 3,000 participants this year.
She said the summer reading program is a fun way to include reading during the summer while helping children maintain and improve their reading skills.
“It’s just like practicing for a sport or a band instrument,” Vallee said. “If you don’t practice, you don’t improve. We want to prevent this loss in reading achievement and optimally, we want to improve their reading proficiency.”
Vallee added that the excitement of a new award book motivates participants to keep reading after their goals are met.
In addition to the reading incentive program, the library has a number of weekly story times and special activities planned at each of their branches in Archie, Drexel, Garden City, Harrisonville, Pleasant Hill, and at the Northern Resource Center in Belton, throughout the summer.
Rhonda Kasper of the University of Missouri Extension will also be hosting a variety of “Food and Fun” programs at each of the branches. Kasper incorporates children’s literature into the program, while also discussing nutrition and tasting different foods.
“For six weeks, we try to have one major program a week at each of the branches,” Vallee said.
“The purpose of the summer reading program is to keep kids reading in the summer by making it fun with the extra programs.”
A full schedule of events is available on the library’s website, www.casscolibrary.org.