North Central Washington readers collectively logged more than 92,000 hours of reading this summer.
Children and adults who participated in North Central Regional Library’s annual summer reading program kept track of their hours of reading to win a range of prizes.
In all, 6,768 children signed up at their local libraries and another 535 teens, children and adults signed up online for the program, designed to keep kids reading during the long summer months out of school. They recorded a total of 92,348 hours (that’s more than 5.5 million minutes) — surpassing last summer’s 75,726 hours.
The summer reading program is a great antidote to the summer slide, when children tend to lose reading skills, said NCRL Executive Director Dan Howard. “Kids that read over the summer perform better when school resumes in the fall.
The books, the amazing prizes like bikes and iPads, and the free programs make our summer reading program a fun and effective way to inspire reading among our children, Howard added.
Prizes donated by businesses around the region also included book collections, Kindle Fires, waterpark passes, movie passes, and toys.
In addition to promoting reading, NCRL's 30 branch libraries in Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan and Ferry counties offered nearly 900 free programs, including story times in English and Spanish, arts and crafts, puppet shows, science experiments, theatrical productions, children's yoga, and Knights of Veritas demonstrations.
Soap Lake readers fueled the increase in reading hours, logging 2,687 more hours this summer than in 2015. They were followed by Grand Coulee readers, who tallied 2,262 more hours this year.
Also of note, Wenatchee Public Library had the highest number of kids who read at least 10 hours — 495; and every child who signed up for the program at the Republic Library clocked at least 10 hours of reading.