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Games, awards abound during summer reading kickoff

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By Ramsey Scott

Reading can be its own reward. But it doesn’t hurt to win a prize for reading a book.

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The Jeffco Public Library kicked off its Summer Reading Club on Sunday with celebrations across the county. The club gives readers from preschool age through adults a chance to win prizes for finishing books and other activities, said Bethany Candelaria, the library’s marketing manager. 

“One of our priorities is early literacy and ensuring kids maintain their literacy skills over the summer,” she said. “Kids who don’t participate in reading activities in summer fall victim to what we in the library world refer to as the ‘summer slide.’ When they go back in fall, they’ll be behind their peers, and it has an accumulative effect over years.”

Harry Hemingway said that while his daughter, 10-year-old Sophia, is a voracious reader, it helps that the program encourages her to visit the library regularly. The two were at the kickoff celebration at the Columbine Library on Sunday.

“I buy books for home, but the library has got everything. You can just go down section by section. One month you can read about science, and the next art,” Hemingway said. “It’s the best way to discover books.”

Sophia said: “It’s just fun to read and win prizes for doing it. My favorite books are mysteries, because you have to find out who you can trust and who you can’t.”

Participants in the reading club, including adults, receive a game card with activities to check off. For kids, the to-do list includes items like reading for two hours and singing in the shower.

Prizes such as free books and coupons to Lakeside Amusement Park and McDonald’s are awarded when  goals are met. Teens finishing their game cards will be entered into a drawing to participate in their local library’s game night. 

Candelaria said that, at the conclusion of the program, each library will offer electronic and board games for the teens to use for free. The Columbine Library will select 40 teens for its game night in August. 

Along with books and other giveaways, readers age 5 and up who complete a set amount of items will be entered to win a Kindle Fire computer tablet. Kids in the 5-and-under age group can win a LeapPad tablet. 

“It’s great to see this much excitement for kids coming to the library. I’ve been coming here since I was 3 years old,” said Adam Grossman, 17, who volunteers at the Columbine branch and worked the bubble art booth during the kickoff. “They’ll remember this place as a place of fun and come back and get more books.”

Last year, the Jeffco Public Library had 25,907 people participate in the club, with about 13,000 people completing their game cards. 

The library is also offering summer programs connected with the reading clubs for kids and teens. To find out more about the programs, or to sign up for the reading club, visit www.jeffcolibrary.org/summerreading or stop by your local library.