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Knocking Out Summer Boredom, One Book at a Time

Nov 06, 2015 12:57PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Margaret Spencer

West Jordan - Summer, a time for sleeping in and swimming, is not usually a time when children decide to pick up a book and read. Rather, most children will put down their books and never pick them up again until fall, thus forgetting many words and phrases they learned in the past school year. With literacy rates remaining unchanged over the last 10 years including adults unable to read, the Salt Lake County Library hosted a summer reading program.

The “Every Hero has a Story” reading program was hosted by 18 libraries in the county. At any library location, children and adults could pick up flyers where they would either write down the name of the book they had read or color in the bubbles for how many minutes had been spent reading. 

Super heroes and action bubbles decorated the pages, challenging the young children to fill them up. As they traveled through time or fought dragons with each story they read, they filled up the flyers and turned them in every visit for more adventures. Prizes were awarded every month, and each page with the bubbles colored in was entered into a drawing to win big prizes, such as a bike, scooter or other fun outside toys. 

In August, at the end of the program, gift certificates for free tickets to the Utah Natural History Museum were given out to each person with a filled flyer. With these kinds of programs, not only does reading become fun and challenging, but children benefit from it tremendously. Since it is a public program, it is available to everyone. All one needed to start their new adventure was a library card.

At the close of summer, the pages and titles were counted, prizes were handed out and the totals were outstanding. There had been an approximate 44,000 participators for the program. Over 10,000 children and adults finished the program, and more than 5,000 certificates to the museum were handed out. 18 state park passes were given out, and one regional winner received a night at the Anniversary Inn.

Winners of the night stay at the Inn were Carla Wind and husband Jim, who had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They hadn’t been able to do much in the way of celebrating, so when they were awarded the prize they were happily overwhelmed.

More than 15,000 books were given out as prizes; adult books had been donated, while children’s books were purchased by the library. The entire staff was involved in the planning and were so excited to see such great results. 

“We encourage reading of all kinds,” one of the children’s librarians said. “The library can do so much with all kinds of databases, magazines and downloads. We just wanted people to really see what the library has to offer.”                           λ