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Dream Big, Read!

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Along with the young children’s and teen reading program, the Crook County Library added an adult aspect this summer

by: RAMONA MCCALLISTER/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kids in the Crook County Library Reading Program watch a puppet show during the kick-off week of the Summer Reading Program, “Dream Big, Read.”

The summer reading program is in full swing at the Crook County Library, and there are four weeks of exciting and engaging programs left for children, teens, and adults to participate in.
   The Oregon State Library points out that there is a significant loss of learning during the summer when young people are not in school. Summer reading programs provide activities that encourage readers to stay active in reading throughout the summer, while having fun at the same time.
   “The whole point of it is to encourage kids to read during the summertime,” said Jane Ahern, Youth Services Librarian for the Crook County Library.
   She went on to say that there are two parts to the summer reading program.
   “One part is all the activities that we do and the programs that we put on. The other part is really more about the kids reading at home and keeping their skills sharp.”
   The theme for this year is “Dream Big, Read.” Ahern said that there is a different theme for each summer reading program. The library kicked off their event June 16, with juggler Charlie Brown in the library park.
   Other activities that took place in June included a presentation by High Desert Museum with bats and owls, storytimes with Tammy Bronson, campfire songs with Anita Hoffman and her drama students as well as campfire songs with Elaine McDaniel, and a puppet show.
   In July, there will be more storytimes, and another appearance with Magician Bill Mitchell.
   Ahern added that they encourage the kids to read by providing them with a reading log with 15 minute increments. When the kids turn it in, they are entered in a free drawing. The prizes include a telescope, gift certificates, toys, and book bags. They also get a free book when turning in their reading log.
   Tammy Bronson, storyteller and staff for the Crook County Library, said she has been working with parents and students in the various reading programs for 15 years. She said that parents tell her, “I hate when the summer reading program is over, because that is the reason my kid reads, is because the summer reading program is going.”
   In addition to the reading program for the younger children, there is a program for teens and one for adults as well. New this year, the adult reading program will be going through Aug. 3. According to Neva Caudle, Public Service Associate for the Crook County Library, they initially thought there might be a lower turnout, but they closed the registration with 91 adults signed up.
   “This is the first year that Crook County Library has an adult summer reading program,” said Caudle. She said that it is different than the children’s program, in that they have closed the registration. They are also having drawings, with the first already held, which was a book-lover’s gift basket. There will also be a special author talk by Scott Staats on July 25, where he will share humorous stories from his new book. On the display every week, they have a different genre every week to encourage adults to read outside what they typically would choose.
   “We can’t keep the books on there; they just go out like crazy,” added Caudle.
   The theme for the adult reading program is “Between the covers,” and there will also be a grand drawing for a comforter set. The gift baskets are sponsored by the Friends of the Library, and other items for the drawings are sponsored by Bi-mart, Pine Theater, and Barney Prine’s.
   The teen reading program includes bingo, prizes, snacks, and a cooking demo. There will also be a teen dance, and different crafts. Bronson said that there was recently a jewelry-making class, where she had the teens make glass bead jewelry.
   “They just did the coolest stuff — I was just in awe with what they came up with,” said Bronson.
   Ahern also emphasized that there will be a cooking demonstration with crepes in the Broughton Room.
   In addition to these activities in the local reading program, the Oregon Library is offering a summer program called Think Big, Save for College, which encourages kids and teens to participate in their local library reading programs as a fun way to maintain their reading skills. This program provides a chance for parents to win a $1,000 Oregon College Savings plan account. There will be up to 15 winners, three from each Oregon congressional district in a random drawing. Every library with a winning child will also receive $500.
   “The statistics regarding the loss of academic knowledge over the summer break are staggering,” explained Michael Parker, executive director of the Oregon 529 College Savings Network. “That’s why it’s so important to us to partner with the Oregon State Library and the Oregon Library Association on this program. Access to books over the summer improves reading skills and overall academic performance, which will help kids prepare for higher education.”
   This year’s summer reading program included 40 teens and 214 kids signed up. As of July 6, 340 kids were in attendance and 60 teens.
   To reach the Crook County Library call 541-447-7978.
   To participate in think Big Save for College, Oregon parents/guardians/grandparents must enroll their children in the 2012 summer reading program. They can enter online at OregonCollegeSavings.com. All entries must be received by Sept. 7. The official rules and prize details are also at this site.