The Cecil County Public Library celebrated another successful summer reading program with a picnic in North East Community Park Wednesday, August 6.
"We invited all of our summer readers to celebrate a great summer," said Rachel Wright, Children Services Manager for the library system. "We invited everyone to bring lunch and a blanket and have some fun."
Herr's provided free snacks. The Friends of the Cecil County Library hired DJ Pam Moore and provided free ice cream from the Mister Softee truck.
Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union sponsored prize baskets. Every child who attended the picnic could register to try to win a prize basket.
Seven-year-old Patrick said he read "a lot" of books this summer and enjoyed all of them. His favorite part of the picnic was the popcorn.
The theme for this year's program was the STEM-inspired "Fizz, Boom, Read".
The final numbers are still being tabulated but Wright said there were more participants this year than last. There were over 3,500 readers, more than 45,000 books read, 4,000 logs filled out, and participants combined to read for more than 8,000 hours.
Readers were split into two categories – birth to 5 where family members read to the children and the other is students entering first grade through those entering fifth grade.
Next month, the library will present APGFCU Cup Challenge awards to the county public school with the highest percentage of students who "finished" the summer reading program.
Another is presented to the school with the highest percentage increase of finishers.
"Finishing" is defined as reading 20 books.
Wright says the summer reading program helps kids avoid the "summer slide" – a decline in reading skills while on summer break from school. "It encourages reading and visiting the library," she said.
"This way they're still engaging in learning throughout the summer."