Library to launch revamped summer reading program
Steamboat Springs — At the end of a long school year, books probably don’t play a huge part in the summer plans of most Routt County students.
But according to Sarah Kostin, Bud Werner Memorial Library’s youth services librarian, the library is looking to rewrite that dynamic through its revamped summer reading program, which gets underway Friday and continues through July 31.
This summer, instead of hosting separate programs for elementary-age children and teens, the library will combine both groups into a single program titled “Find Yourself Reading,” which is geared toward readers age 6 to 18.
A second program — the “Wee Reader Program” for newborns to children age 5 — is designed to encourage activities that foster early literacy skills, including reading, talking, playing, singing and writing with a parent or adult caregiver.
Advanced 5-year-old readers will be allowed to opt into the more advanced “Find Yourself Reading” program, Kostin added.
In both programs, readers can log their reading and activities through an online portal — available at steamboatlibrary.org/services/kids/summer-reading/find-yourself-reading — to win a number of prizes, including bookmarks, free books, gift certificates to Off the Beaten Path, journals and more.
According to Kostin, a candid and honest look at past summer reading programs led to this summer’s changes.
“We wanted to re-evaluate everything, so we asked, ‘Why do we do this the way we do?’ and the answer was, ‘Because we always have,’” Kostin said. “That’s never a very good reason, so we came up with a list of reasons the summer reading programs exist and goals we hoped to accomplish through it.”
Working with Alison Lambart, teen services associate librarian, Kostin was able to formulate a set of goals for the summer reading program, with the overarching aim “to infuse the joy and love of reading in kids” and “help prevent the summer slide while the schools and school libraries are closed.”
Kostin hopes the new program, which allows readers to set their own daily reading goals and track their own progress online, will spur more young people to read during the summer.
As a bonus, readers also can participate in the “Read in 50 Spots Challenge,” which presents readers with a list of “reading hot spots,” including local businesses and generic locations including “in a tree,” “beside the river,” etc. The challenge is for participants to read in 50 of the approximate 70 “reading hot spots.”
She also said readers are asked to take selfies while reading in the hot spots, which will then be displayed in the library and possibly posted to the library’s Facebook page.
“I’m really excited about the summer reading program this year because it’s very inclusive,” Kostin said. “Every kid, whether you’re a huge reader or really not that into reading at all, can participate in this program and find value in it, whether it’s just cracking your book open for five minutes or reading a whole book every day.
“It’s just celebrating the joy of reading; it’s a fun escape, it’s a fun thing to do and anyone can do it.”
Both programs officially begin Friday, but Kostin said participants can register now by visiting steamboatlibrary.org/services/kids/summer-reading/find-yourself-reading and click on “Get Started Now.”
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