Prince William County libraries are gearing up to start stamping passports and punching cards as people participate in the "Explore – Summer Reading 2017 – Journey through Books" program. Registration for the program begins on June 19 and is free. The program, which runs from June 19 through August 19, aims to get people of all ages reading over the summer.
There are incentives for those who dive into the books, including prizes for free food, a free book and the chance to enter the drawings for grand prizes at the end of the summer. "Participating in the summer reading program gives you the opportunities to win many prizes. There are prizes for visiting the library, as well as weekly challenges," said Library Director Deborah Wright.
Infants through children entering fifth grade who participate in the program will sign up at www.pwcgov.org/summerreading and visit their local library to pick up their passport. Each time they come back to the library, the children can tell the librarians what they read and get their passports stamped. Each two stamps gets a free food coupon. Six stamps earns a free book to keep. Every stamp, up to nine stamps, earns an entry into the grand prize drawing for a flip laptop.
Young adult readers between sixth and 12th grades will also enter online and visit their favorite library to pick up their punch card to get free food prizes when their cards have been punched three and six times. Those who get up to nine punches will get nine chances to win a Beats Pill – by Dre, a wireless portable speaker.
The program will also include weekly challenges and events throughout the summer, Wright said. "We have amazing events going on for all ages during the summer. We have music events, animal programs, theater productions and science and STEM activities."
Adults can also enter the program to win coupons and other giveaways.
While the program is full of fun and games, it serves another purpose, Wright said. Summer reading keeps young readers in practice, so that they don't lose their reading skills over the summer. "Early on, libraries realized that by supporting summer reading, they could get kids to read somewhat consistently over the summer. If they can sustain the reading level they left the school year with, they and the teachers aren't playing that catch-up game in the fall trying to get back up to speed."
For more information about Prince William Library programs, visit www.pwcgov.org/library.