Library’s reading program sizzles up for summer

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published June 7, 2017


ROCHESTER — The Rochester Hills Public Library will soon open the book on its annual summer reading program.

Youth Services Manager Claire Lopiccolo said the program — which has a “Happy Birthday, Rochester” theme in celebration of the city’s bicentennial — challenges participants to read quality literature and learn about community history through a series of programs running through Aug. 5.

“We are proud to be part of Rochester, and we wanted to be part of the bicentennial celebration as well,” she said.

Community members can sign up for the eight-week summer reading program June 10 and start logging their reading points online for a chance to win prizes through Aug. 5.

To kick off the program, the Rochester Hills Public Library is hosting a community birthday party noon-3 p.m. June 10. The family-friendly event includes a bounce-house obstacle course, retro games from Dinosaur Hill, birthday cake, and an outdoor concert by Rich Eddy’s Rockin’ Oldies at 2 p.m. Treats and finger foods, provided by Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, will be served in the multipurpose room — which will also have displays from Rochester’s historical commissions out for viewing. No registration is required.

Library Director Christine Lind Hage said the kickoff party is a fun way to increase awareness of the summer reading program.

“Our summer reading program is designed to help forestall the ‘summer slide’ in reading that some students experience during the school break,” she said in a statement.

“When kids read throughout the summer as part of the summer reading program, they are more likely not to have lost any ground,” Lopiccolo added. “We hope they participate in the summer reading program so that they can continue at the same reading level they were at when they finished their last grade.”

Another great thing about the summer reading program, she said, is that everyone gets to choose what they want to read.

“It’s also really important to us that the kids have the summer to choose any book that they want, not what is assigned, and they can read whatever is interesting to them, so that it fosters the love of reading and they can understand that reading is for pleasure as well as school assignments,” Lopiccolo said.

The youth summer reading program asks children or their parents to keep track of the amount of time that kids spend reading, and for every five hours they are read to, read independently or read to someone else, they get a prize — up to 30 hours. Prizes include books and raffle entries for grand prizes, which include bookstore gift cards, vintage toys and more.

The Parents Read Too program allows parents and caregivers who are busy reading to and about their children to participate in their own summer reading program, complete with separate prizes.

People ages 13-18 can sign up online for the Teen Summer Reading Challenge. Teens who read four books by Aug. 5 will collect prizes and raffle entries for grand prizes, along with a ticket to the Escape Room Finale party Friday, Aug. 11. The last day for teens to collect prizes is Aug. 10.

Adults are also invited to sign up for the summer reading program during the kickoff party.

The benefits of reading in adulthood are sometimes overlooked, according to Adult Services Manager Jessica Parij.

“‘Happy Birthday, Rochester’ is our opportunity to remind adults that reading improves your memory and expands your vocabulary. Plus, you can win cool prizes,” she said in a statement.

The Adult Summer Reading Challenge allows adults to enter to win one of eight weekly prizes every time they read a book or attend an adult program. Those who read at least four books or attend four programs will be entered to win this year’s grand prize, an Apple iPad.

All summer reading programs will come to a close during the Family Summer Reading Finale 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 8 at Thelma Spencer Park in Rochester Hills. Each child who completes the fourth level of the summer reading program will earn a ticket for their family. The finale will include park time, beach time, games, a sandcastle building contest and a treat. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic and drinks.

Registration for the summer reading program is limited to those who have a Rochester Hills Public Library card and live, work or own property in Rochester, Rochester Hills or Oakland Township.

For more information about the summer reading program, visit or call (248) 656-2900.