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Libraries Promote Summer Reading

Fairfax County program encourages students to read.

Reston Regional Library’s children’s reading section. The library is located at 11925 Bowman Towne Drive in Reston.

Reston Regional Library’s children’s reading section. The library is located at 11925 Bowman Towne Drive in Reston. Photo by Ryan Dunn.

Every summer, the Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) offers a summer reading program for children ages preschool-12th grade. This year the 2014 program began on June 20, and will continue until Aug. 30. “It is a fun program, children are encouraged to participate,” said librarian Dorota Jakubowska, children’s services manager at Reston Regional Library located on 11925 Bowman Towne Drive.

“All of the activities are very similar to last year,” said Katie Strotman, Deputy Director for the Fairfax County Public Library. “The theme itself is different but the idea of children reading for pleasure and to keep up their skills stay the same year to year.” According to online reading logs, approximately 58,149 books have been read by children in the FCPL reading program. (This number is from the reading logs that are submitted online and not in the library branches.)

ONE NEW FEATURE of this year’s program is a teen cover art contest for students in rising grades seventh – 12th grade. In this contest, participants can submit one entry of a book cover with redesigned original artwork, but must include the book title and author in the design. Entries must be submitted via email, mail, or dropped of at the nearest Fairfax County library by Aug. 8.

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Jen C. Morton, the children’s library at Herndon Fortnightly Library. If a child in the Fairfax County summer reading program completes their log of books, they receive a coupon book prize containing free and discounted offers from local businesses.

The FCPL has divided readers into age groups. Each age group is designated a suggested reading list, and a required number of books to read by Aug. 30. Children from birth to grade six read 15 books, and children in grades 7-12 read 8 books. If the child completes their log of books, they receive a coupon book prize containing free and discounted offers from local businesses. Having prizes encourages children to complete the program, and work towards a specific goal.

David and Isaac Kim, sons of Grace Kim turned in their reading logs to the Reston Regional Library for their rewards. Kim’s sons attend Providence Elementary School in Fairfax, and the family has enjoyed patronizing several of the county libraries. “We hear about this reading program through the school,” said Kim. “I did not let them include any comic books.”

“We are thrilled every year to work with the schools on this important program that encourages kids to read for fun but also helps them maintain the reading skills they worked so hard to attain during the school year,” stated Mary Mulrenan, marketing director for Fairfax County Public Library. In addition to rewards for reading, the local libraries have organized a number of free events for children to attend, many of which focus on a reading theme.

EVENTS at the Reston Regional Library include a musical event by Tracey Eldridge for preschoolers and children on Monday July 28 at 2:30 p.m. On July 30 at 7 p.m. there will be a reading of family stories on whales. Reston Regional Library will hold a children and teens used book sale at the library from Aug. 21 to Aug. 24.

“I think there are a few more readers this year, but that may be because there are more people in the community,” said Herndon Fortnightly Library assistant branch manager Tommie Cason. “The reason we have this program is to keep kids reading throughout the summer,” said Mary Dunn, a library information assistant who previously taught at Fairfax County Public Schools. Some upcoming events at the Herndon library include a Children’s Science Center, which will be held on July 30 at 11 a.m. The Children’s Science Center will conduct hands-on, science-based activities on animals, creative engineering and forensic science.

“We are happy to say we have lots of kids participating,” said Jen C. Morton, the children’s library at Herndon Fortnightly Library. Some popular books at the Herndon library have included “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate and “The Fault in Our Stars” by author John Green. “The kids are reading what they enjoy,” said Morton.

“There is still a lot of summer left, we have lots of programs and prizes and we encourage students and kids to come into the libraries and continue reading through the end of the summer,” said Katie Strotman. The FCPL’s service area spans both the county and Fairfax City, serving nearly half a million registered users. The library system is the largest in Virginia in terms of population served. Fairfax County library has been celebrating its 75th anniversary this year with events held throughout the year. To read more about Fairfax County summer reading program, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/srp/.