Summer time is one of the best times of the year to read. Be it on the beach, while relaxing on the porch swing or when riding in the car on a vacation trip, summer reading is always fun. The Jackson Township Branch of the Stark County Library kicked off this year’s summer reading challenge program on June 3 with signups, activities and free ice cream.
The program, titled Exercise Your Mind, goes from June 3 through July 27. Kids and teens through grade 12 are encouraged to sign up and pledge to read anywhere from 1 to 100 books over the summer. Those that meet or exceed their goal will receive a prize.
“This year, the child or parent can set the reading goals,” said Terri Bendekgey, children’s programmer at the Jackson Township Branch library. “This is the first year we are using the new online registration and reading record program to track the books.”
Bendekgey noted that program is about more than just encouraging reading. Summer reading, she said, helps to keep young minds sharp between school years.
“It’s important for kids to keep reading over the summer so that they maintain reading skills learned in school,” Bendekgey said. “Reading takes practice and the summer is a good time to get practice. I hope everyone meets their reading goals this summer.”
Bendekgey said a few of the most popular books for the summer include some of the new graphic novels for students in the third- through fifth-grades and the “Dork Dairies” are available for the same age group.
StoryWalks planned for every Thursday evening in June to keep in line with the theme of exercising your mind. Readers will walk the paths in Jackson’s North Park and find pages of a story posted along the way.
Ellen Doucette, librarian for the teen section at the library, said that the fantasy and science fiction books hold the greatest interest for teen readers. “The Percy Jackson” series and books by Tamora Pierce are the most popular.
“It’s important for teens to read through the summer so that they can maintain their reading skills,” Doucette said. “With the younger kids, we are creating readers. With the teens, we’re maintaining readers.”
For the adult readers, this summer offers many new books by some of the biggest authors including Stuart Woods, Sue Grafton and Danielle Steel. Martin recommends grabbing a book to read on the beach or on the boat.
The adult readers can sign up for a different type of challenge. They can walk their way to free books. Readers can log the number of miles they walk or hike and redeem them at the Jackson Library for free books.
“It’s also good to get audio books to listen to while walking. Adult readers can reward themselves with a good book after completing a brisk walk,” Martin said.
Page 2 of 2 - Katrina Stavrova from Jackson Township was at the kickoff event with her 9-year-old daughter, Lina who had just completed signing up for the summer read challenge. Lina signed up to read 12 books this summer as her goal.
“I’m trying to fill her summer with activities so that she doesn’t get bored,” Stavrova said.
The Friends of the Library had many volunteers at the kickoff hosting games and activities in the conference room.