Summer reading program heads into final chapter

It's summer break, but some kids are only taking a break from the writin' and 'rithmetic portions of school. There are 158 who are immersed in the readin'.

The Irene Ingle Public Library summer reading program, which kicked off in June, has about two weeks left before wrapping up with a pizza and pool party for those who earn 10 points or more.

According to Margaret Villarma, head librarian, children grades kindergarten to ninth read accelerated reader books. Before starting the program, kids take a test on a library computer to assess which books would best suit their reading comprehension levels. They take a test after finishing each book to continue assessments and provide more challenging reading levels.

"Each book is worth a certain number of points," Villarma said. "Each week we total the students' points and for every point they earn a coupon that they can enter into whatever prize they are trying to win."

Large jars are found throughout the children's section of the library and each one is associated with a different prize like basketballs, various toys and bigger-ticket items such as the one Clara and Mariah Carney are vying for.

"I'm trying to win the mini Kindle," Mariah, 8, said. She wants the Kindle to read more books, but she also wants it to play games. Sister Clara, 11, has the same goal.

"(The prizes) give them motivation, all the toys and awards they can get," said Jack Carney, Clara and Mariah's dad. "Sometimes they'll be focused on one prize and put all their tickets in one jar, or sometimes they'll be very diplomatic and put it into the ones with the least tickets."

Carney said all his children love to read on their own and the summer reading program gets them excited about reading. "This really just gets them more focused, begging to go to the library and check out new books."

Clara is finishing up "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which is 752 pages long. A book that size could earn her around 20 tickets. Although she enjoys the "Potter" series of books, her favorite series at the moment is "Percy Jackson."

Mariah is reading a book about Area 51, though she prefers graphic novels such as the "Wings of Fire" series. "I love reading," she said. "Once I read a graphic novel about (an inch) thick." That book was "New Kid" by Jerry Craft. Books like "Area 51" will earn Mariah half a point.

Assistant librarian Sarah Scambler said there are 158 kids signed up for the program; registration ended on June 30. She said students can earn up to 100 points and they have to read in their reading level.

"We don't want a fifth grader reading a kindergarten book," she said. "We're trying to challenge them a little bit."


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