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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: sneaks

by Sneaks the Cat

I can haz Summer Reading Club?

You know, we cats don't really talk like that. It's a common misconception, but as you can see, I have excellent diction and reading skill. I have the Baltimore County Public Library's Summer Reading Club to thank for that.

Speaking of the Summer Reading Club, this year's theme is "Dream Big, Read!" for preschool and elementary school-age children, and "Own the Night" for kiddos middle-school-age and older. Both programs will be exploring the nocturnal world, and I have to admit I'm pretty excited seeing as how I'm a bit of a night owl myself. Why waste that fantastic night vision by sleeping all night? Besides, I'm much rather catch a cat nap in a nice warm patch of sunlight. I'm getting drowsy just thinking about it.

Where was I? Ah, yes, Summer Reading Club's ultimate aim is to prevent "summer reading loss," which occurs when students fail to read over the summer to bolster the reading skills they've acquired over the past school year. Reading just four to five books over the summer months can contribute significantly to the retention of reading ability necessary to advance in the following academic year.

As they read, Club members fill out a game board. As they complete their boards, kids can pick up great prizes like glow-in-the-dark glasses and fiber-optic toys. Teens can enter to win prizes such as an iPod Touch, iPod Shuffle, Kindle Fire, a Hunger Games book bundle, gift cards, and even mystery prizes. I wanted a ball of yarn, but I was outvoted.

Children who are not yet old enough to read can still participate. The Read-to-Me Summer Reading Club is for ages birth to 5. High school students and adults can join the fun, too, by following along with BCPL's Goodreads group and entering to win prizes.

While the Summer Reading Club has been going on for quite a while, I joined the team in 1986. That's 26 years! Wow, time flies when you've got 9 lives. I was wearing Jams shorts back then, but hey, we've all got embarrassing photos from the 80s, right?

In a little over two decades, we've grown the program from 3,522 students to 45,971 last year. I've gone on safaris, traveled to the Middle Ages, and even launched into outer space. One year they even wrapped me up like a mummy for a trip to Egypt. It's been a blast!

Club materials will be available at branches beginning June 11. You can pre-register now by signing up at your local library or at www.bcpl.net/summerreading. Read books; win prizes!


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