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At Southeast branch libraries, summer reading is back!

Summer is here, and that means the Summer Reading program will soon be in full swing at your neighborhood Multnomah County branch library.

This program has evolved from its start in 1912 to become one of the nation's most successful Summer Reading programs, with over 85,000 participants last year.

But it's not just fun to do: Research shows that reading is the summer activity most strongly linked to summer learning, and that kids who read over the summer are better prepared for school in the fall. This is just one reason that Multnomah County Library provides an innovative, high-quality program to engage and motivate thousands of kids every summer.

Beginning June 17, kids of all ages - from babies to teens - can sign up for Multnomah County Library Summer Reading.

Babies? Yes, babies! The program is structured as a game, complete with a gameboard that kids and teens fill out as they read (or, in the case of pre-readers, are read to) over the summer. Players earn prizes along the way, as their gameboards are filled in; an assortment of age-appropriate incentives and gift certificates are available. All finishers receive a Summer Reading T-shirt.

Finishers are also entered into a grand prize drawing for a family vacation for four to Great Wolf Lodge water park in Grandmound, Washington, as well as several runner-up prizes.

The Sellwood-Moreland youth librarians were visiting area schools as the academic year wrapped up to promote the Summer Reading program, and get kids excited about reading for the summer months. This year, many schools are taking advantage of the opportunity to sign students up for the Summer Reading game at school; those not already registered to play on June 17 can do so at any neighborhood library.

The Summer Reading program includes a wide array of fun, free events for kids and families.

The Sellwood Library is working with the Sellwood Community Center again this year to present three big shows in their indoor gym Kicking things off is a performance by Mo Phillips, a musician whose witty, irreverent tunes are made for the whole family to enjoy. He'll be playing on June 22 at 3 pm. Next up at the Sellwood Community Center is the puppet show 'Bike Trike Spketacular' by local favorites Mudeye Puppets on Wednesday, July 13, at 2:30 pm. We finish up this big show series with the Knights of Veritas, who present an interactive educational demonstration of medieval arms, armor, combat, knighthood, and chivalry on August 18 at 4 pm.

In addition, we've got arts and crafts workshops, musical performances, puppet laboratories, and variety shows all summer long right at Sellwood-Moreland Library on S.E. 13th at Bidwell in Sellwood.

For information on all this and more, look for flyers at the library, or search for events with the library's Event Finder database online at: http://events.multcolib.org.

We'll see you at your nearest branch library this summer!