Rewards are many for ages '0 to 99' who participate in program

by: COURTESY PHOTO - Sofie (left) and Sonja spend much of their summer reading, according to their dad, Scott Dobberfuhl.Nowadays, a child with his or her nose always stuck in a book is a good thing.

In the age when most heads are bowed for tablets and smart phones, books remain stubbornly and silently present in traditional, audio and e-reader forms just waiting to be explored.

And behind the silent books stand the western Washington County librarians, normally considered a quiet group, but not when they’re talking about their various Summer Reading Programs.

“Summer is the busiest time in the children’s library,” said Laurie Kramer of the Hillsboro Main Library. “And that’s because of our Summer Reading Program.”

She encourages everyone “from 0 to 99” to sign up on June 1.

Sue Plaisance, youth services librarian at Hillsboro, agrees and even waxes poetic over the many “chances” the program offers to all ages, tots to teens and beyond — the chance to have fun, to enjoy entertainment and nature programs, to just hang out with friends and talk about books.

“Summer Reading gives families free activities to participate in together. It’s super flexible,” said Shannon Romtvedt, adult services librarian at the Forest Grove City Library. “And families can listen to or read books together or individually; they can read in the library, at home, or on vacation.”

Romtvedt also sees the program as a true community, one that encourages all sorts of interactivity.

Scott Dobberfuhl’s three daughters Silke, 7, Sonia, 10, and Sofie, 14, participate in the Forest Grove program annually and “really enjoy setting goals with the reading lists and getting their free books in the end.”

Ann Dondero, youth services librarian, also applauds the Friends of Forest Grove Library who play a big part in the program and have helped provide a free book to each young person who completes their summer reading goal.

“Owning books gives children a good start in becoming life-long learners,” she said.

“Heidi and her chicken along with Officer Sam and his dog” are the guest presenters at the North Plains library, said Debbie Brodie, director.

The library also offers rewards across the board for participation in the program — the chance to win a pizza party, bowling passes, Amazon gift cards and iPod Shuffles.

“One thing we really like to emphasize here at North Plains is that everybody can sign up for summer reading,” said Jackie Welch, youth librarian. “We have a program for every age.”

Welch adds that while pre-readers have always been included in Summer Reading, they now have their very own “little tykes” program. It seems there’s much more to addressing the issues of early childhood literacy than simply reading to young children. There’s “talking, playing, writing, reading and singing,” and the library’s activities will focus on each of these, she said.

“Keep kids reading,” advises Karen Hill, director of the Cornelius library. They attracted more than 1,000 participants in last year’s program and are determined to do even better this year.

“Kids can lose months of their reading skills levels by not reading in the summer,” Hill said. She also explains how they’ve expanded the adults’ Summer Reading Program to include bilingual readers and speakers.

Denise Holmes, director of the Banks library, encourages reading of all sorts of materials, emphasizing that all reading builds necessary skill levels.

“With reluctant readers, all they need is one series, one author, then they’re off and running,” she said.

Kids who enroll in the summer program often return, Holmes said. Teens even get to choose the title of their award book.

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