Library directors highlight summer reading programs

The Weatherford Public Library, as well as the East Parker County Library, have kicked off summer reading challenges for children, teens and adults. WPL staff, from left, Dalila Noyola, children’s librarian; Melissa Smith, manager of youth services; and Kahley Paulsel, library associate. 

Summer has officially begun and those who want to take a break from the Texas heat can engage in local reading programs throughout the the next couple of months.

The Weatherford Public Library has three programs now taking place through summer — the Youth Summer Reading Challenge, the Teen Summer Reading Challenge and the Adult Summer Library Challenge.

“In the youth and teen challenges, participants earn prizes for completing up to 20 hours of reading time. There are also Mega Reader prizes available for those who read 25 hours or more,” WPL Director of Library Services Chris Accardo said. “Adults can accumulate points by either reading or by completing activities such as attending library events, with an opportunity to win prizes such as gift certificates to local businesses and Kindle Fire tablets. This year’s theme is ‘Imagine Your Story,’ so our events for youth and teens, such as ‘Mermaid and Dragon Eggs,’ will be tied to fantasy and fairy tales.”

The East Parker County Library will be kicking off its “Imagine Your Story: 40 Days of Fairytales, Mythology and Fantasy” on June 23.

“The core of our program is reading — anything, anywhere, anytime, anyplace — and to keep track of your time on the provided log that you pick up at the library. Audiobook listening and being read to by someone else counts too,” East Parker County Library Director Tracy Lambert Jack said. “We have a popular Read & Bead program within our summer reading where participants choose a brag tag — an associated necklace or keychain — and can fill it with beads by visiting the library to check out books during the program and by reading. As participants log their minutes of reading, they reach milestones to earn books and tickets towards end of summer prizes such as legos, an iPad, art sets. This year, we have partnered with Funky Munky Aledo, Frio’s in Aledo and Aledo Nutrition and Energy to also offer sweet treats to our patrons as they reach milestones in their reading.”

Mineral Wells ISD Library Services will be holding elementary, junior high and high school summer learning activities — Ride the Wave of Learning — with free online resources. More information about #ramsridethewave can be found by visiting the library services Facebook page or mwisd.net.

The Weatherford Public Library has a new Reading Rewards Program for youth and teens that allows them to earn activity points and badges for completing certain activities, Accardo said.

“Due to the coronavirus epidemic and social distancing guidelines, we will be hosting all of our events this summer virtually via Facebook Live,” Accardo said. “Some of our performers have even agreed to let us leave their recorded performances on Facebook, so they will be available for people who are unable to view at the live broadcast time or for repeat viewings.”

Lambert Jack said the East Parker County Library has shortened its schedule and has also put most of its programming online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the initial uncertainty of when and how we were going to open and the continuing changes and updates with state guidelines regarding COVID-19, we shortened our schedule and have put most of our programming online. Tuesday through Friday during our 40 Days of Reading, we will put different content for children, youth and adults out through our Facebook page and on our website — Science Tellers, escape rooms, trivia, lego challenges, adventures, learn and play, and our popular principals story time, to name a few,” Lambert Jack said. “We are fortunate to be able to provide a couple of Special Events Saturdays when the Perot Tech Truck, the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation Water Trailer and the like will be available for participants to visit at EPCL.”

Summer reading events have been a part of the Weatherford Public Library since the 1980s.

“As more research has been done on the effects of summer reading over the years, we have found that there are real benefits to children’s vocabulary, reading comprehension and other literacy skills if they remain actively engaged in reading over the summer. Those who don’t maintain their reading over the summer can experience what has been termed ‘summer slide.’ Their reading performance is lower at the beginning of the new school year than it was at the end of the old one,” Accardo said. “Public library summer reading programs are our way to encourage kids to keep reading over the summer. I participated in summer reading at my public library when I was young, and I remember the sense of accomplishment and the rewards that came with it when I reached my reading goals. That’s something that give you a great foundation in life, and the entire library staff feels honored that we can provide this for our community’s children and families. Summer is quite an exciting time for us.”

Lambert Jack said summer reading programs are often the most well-known events that libraries have.

“In addition to fun and engaging activities that libraries plan during this time, summer reading is a wonderful opportunity to not only keep up skills learned during the school year but to really explore the vast variety of books available to you to read at the library,” Lambert Jack said. “Required reading can sometimes feel like a ‘have to.’ Summer reading at the library gives children and adults alike a time and place to read for pleasure — to ‘want to’ read. We believe that literacy is the foundation for all learning and our mission at the East Parker County Library is to encourage a love of reading, promote lifelong learning and provide enrichment opportunities to our patrons. We love to see children excited to read.”

The East Parker County Library’s summer reading program will run through Aug. 1 and all reading logs will need to be turned in by the last day.

To register for the Weatherford Public Library reading challenges, visit weatherfordtx.beanstack.org and more information is available at www.wpltx.com or on the library’s Facebook page.

For more information about the East Parker County Library’s reading program visit epclibrary.com or the library’s Facebook page.

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