by Lisa Tome
When Dawn Preske went out to encourage children to read this summer, she took four "friends" with her.
Those friends, a quartet of hermit crabs, attracted lots of attention. That's exactly as Preske, children's librarian at Chesapeake City Library, planned. Preske was at Thomson Estates Elementary on Wednesday, May 26, promoting the Cecil County Library Summer Reading Program.
"This is my first lunch time visit," said Preske, as she held the cage containing the hermit crabs - Iota, Little Bo Peep, Catness, and Boomer. Her goal was to get children to read.
"We just want kids to read. Reading keeps their school skills sharp. We need them for the future," said Preske.
Summer Reading officially kicked off over the weekend. There is still time to register at your local branch, online, or at the Bookmobile.
Summer Reading is open to those of all ages. Summer reading logs are tracked between June 2 and August 2.
The library branches offer prize and incentive opportunities. Children who turn in their first reading log will receive a prize card. The prize card contains eight coupons for admission to events and prizes at local business. Each branch is also offering a bike for a prize,
Teens who sign on for summer reading and turn in logs will earn tickets for a chance to win prizes including Visa gift cards, movie tickets, and iTunes cards. Adults who participate have the chance to win a Kindle Fire.
The elementary school with the highest number of finishers in summer reading will win the APGFCU Summer Reading Cup Challenge. The winning school will receive a trophy, $500 for the school media center, and Mister Softee ice cream for students and staff. The most improved school will receive $250 for the media center and a treat for students and staff.
New this year is The Principal's Challenge. Students entering middle school who enroll in summer reading and turn in their logs will earn a free book, Rita's water ice, and a party at your school.
Summer Reading Programs are as follows:
Children ages 0-5 - Listen to 20 books for the Fizz Boom Read program.
Children entering grades one through five - Read for four hours total, tracking your progress in 15 minute increments. Turn in reading logs.
Teens entering grades 6-12 - Read for six hours total, tracking your progress in 15 minute increments. Turn in reading logs.
Adults - Literary Elements program requires five books, audio books, eBooks, or Learn4Life classes.
"We start working on summer reading back in November," said Preske. "Just reading will take you anywhere in the world. Reading gives you a lot more options."