Westerville, OH – To encourage reading throughout the summer, the Westerville Public Library recently distributed over 6,500 free books to elementary school students in the Westerville City School District.
“Visiting each elementary school every year gives library staff an amazing opportunity to connect with every student in our local school district,” says Annamarie Carlson, Youth Manager at Westerville Public Library. “We get to see kids excited about the library and excited about reading, while also meeting new faces that will become first-time visitors this summer. Being able to hand each child a brand-new book to keep makes the experience that much more engaging and meaningful.”
During school assemblies in May, librarians invited students of all ages to participate in the library’s annual Summer Reading Challenge. Students can set a personal reading goal and when met, earn a second free book and coupons for Columbus Museum of Art, Rita’s Ice, Sugarbees Fine Confections, and the Ohio State Fair. Those who meet their goal are also automatically entered in grand prize drawings for a giant sloth, LEGOs, tickets to Ohio experiences, and more.
“It was a fun motivator to read and to read more with my daughter!” says one participant from last year’s challenge. Another says, “It was fun to set my own goal and beat it! The prizes are a nice incentive too.”
Numerous studies indicate that students who don’t read or read infrequently during their summer break see their reading abilities stagnate or decline. To ensure that students remain engaged and continue to practice their reading skills outside of school, the library’s challenge is designed to keep reading fun, allowing students to read what they like and set a personal goal that is both challenging yet attainable.
“The energy in the gymnasium was palpable as students saw a giant stuffed sloth emerge from a suitcase as one of the many prizes they have the chance to earn by participating. Our goal is not just to keep kids reading, but to keep kids excited about reading. Reading at home regularly as a family is a big indicator of future success,” shared Tamara Murray, Marketing Manager at the Westerville Public Library.
In addition, students and their families can attend free immersive literacy experiences held at the library such as a puppet show, a LEGO competition, and a visit with farm animals. The challenge begins on May 26, 2023.
For more information, visit westervillelibrary.org/read.