Dhvani Ippili, 2, of Rochester Hills, enjoys painting during a recent program at the Rochester Hills Public Library.

Dhvani Ippili, 2, of Rochester Hills, enjoys painting during a recent program at the Rochester Hills Public Library.

Photo by Deb Jacques

‘Reading Is a Blast’ at the library this summer

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published June 5, 2019


ROCHESTER — Summer is nearly upon us, and with it comes a host of free time to fill.

The Rochester Hills Public Library is inviting children, teens and adults to spend their summer engaged in books and other fun programming at the library.

Registration for the library’s nine-week summer reading program kicks off June 8, allowing community members of all ages to sign up online and start tracking their reading time through Aug. 10.

Last year, over 2,000 people participated in the program — 1,100 of whom were children — and library staff hopes that even more people will enter this summer.

A summer reading kickoff event, with activities for people of all ages to enjoy, will be held noon-3 p.m. June 8.

Beginning June 8, community members can sign up for the youth, teen and adult summer reading programs online.

The theme for this year’s youth summer reading program, for infants through 12-year-olds, is “Reading Is a Blast.”

“The main reason we offer our summer reading program is to keep kids reading all summer,” said Betsy Raczkowski, the head of the Youth Services Department. “When you get a chance to come to the library, read whatever you want, do some programs, go outside and really read what you’re interested in, it proves that reading can be a really enjoyable task.”

Many people don’t realize that kids who don’t read over the summer fall behind their peers when school starts up again, which is known to professionals in the education field as “the summer slide.” Besides being fun, Raczkowski said it’s also important for children to read over the summer to keep their skills sharp so they will be ready for school in the fall.

“When kids stop reading over the summer, they can usually lose their place in their reading level at school, so when they start school again, they’re at a lower level than they were when they finished school the year previously. So, our main objective with summer reading is to keep kids reading,” she said.

Instead of an online reading log, this year participants can pick up a paper reading log at the library to record each day they read over the summer. Children must have their own library card to register for the program, which Raczkowski said offers a book when you sign up, a book when you finish and some “fun surprises” in between.

“We’ve made it as simple as possible for all of our patrons and participants. ... All we’re asking kids to do this summer is to read every day — if parents want a specific time, it’s up to them. We just want to make sure kids are reading every day,” Raczkowski said.

The Youth Services Department has a variety of complementary summer reading program events planned throughout the summer, including storytimes in the park, outdoor explorations, “Dr. Nitros’ Dessert Lab” and “Super Galactic Bubbles,” to name just a few.

Teens and adults can participate in separate summer reading programs.

Parents and caregivers busy reading to and about their children are invited to join the Parents Read Too program.

Teens between the ages of 13 and 18 can participate in the teen summer reading program, which has separate prizes and activities.

Adults can register for their own summer reading program, which asks adults to complete a variety of reading activities via a custom bingo sheet.

“The bingo board has some really cool things, like listen to an audiobook, read a book that you started but never finished, read a book by a Michigan author and more,” said Allison Sartwell, the library’s adult services manager. “It’s going to be pretty different from what we’ve done in the past, but I think it will be a lot more interesting.”

Registration for the summer reading programs begins at 9 a.m. June 8 and may be done online at www.rhpl.org/summerreading. Registration 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. All summer reading programs run through Aug. 10, when a summer reading finale for all ages will be held noon-2 p.m.

The Rochester Hills Public Library is located at 500 Olde Towne Road in downtown Rochester. For more information, call (248) 656-2900 or visit www.rhpl.org.