by Lisa Tome
Cecil's public library branches used to kick-off summer reading programs with parties held at each branch. This year, it's a more collaborative effort.
Summer Reading, which runs from June 1 through August 12, will have a new event this year which will replace the end of summer picnic held in the past.
On Saturday, June 10 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.,the Summer Reading Kick-Off Picnic will be held at North East Town Park. The Juggling Hoffmans will perform at 1 p.m. There will be free Kona Ice and Mister Softee ice cream. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic as well as blankets and/or chairs. There will be a DJ playing music and tour of the new bookmobile.
"It's a single day where all the branches will celebrate. It's countywide and in one place," said Barbara Jannaman, who works at North East Branch.
Last year, more than 3,000 children participated in summer reading. Combined, they turned in reading logs indicating that they read more than a million minutes.
The reading logs will be different this year too. The theme for 2017 is Build a Better World...Read.
According to Frazier Walker, Community Relations Manager for the Library, tracking reading will be different.
"We are asking participants in our children and teen summer reading program to continue to track time spent reading, just as in past years. This year, instead of tracking one block of time and turning the log in for a prize, participants will track time spent reading over two week blocks of time over the whole summer. For children birth to fifth grade, we ask them to be read to or read 15 minutes per day for seven out of 14 days. For teens, it is 30 minutes per day for seven of 14 days," explained Walker.
Participants will earn prizes for each two-week block of time.
"Our summer reading guidelines encourage the healthy habit of daily reading, which also aligns with the school system's current Bookworms curriculum," said Walker.
"Engaging in summer reading and learning throughout the summer when school is out of session is a major factor in students maintaining their reading levels when they return to school," she added.