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June 15, 2007

Library programs help students keep reading skills sharp during summer

Jennifer Recchio didn’t waste any time getting a start on her summer reading for school.

It took the 17-year-old senior-to-be at Floyd Central High School exactly two days to finish her summer reading — the Ayn Rand book, “Fountainhead.”

“It was a really good book,” said Recchio of the assigned reading for her senior Advanced Placement English class.

She isn’t stopping there.

Recchio recently purchased a fantasy series called “A Song Of Ice and Fire” using a gift certificate to Destinations Booksellers in New Albany she won in a writing contest. And she’s one of 1,500 students who have signed up for New Albany-Floyd County Public Library’s summer reading program.

The program encourages summer reading through prizes, activities and other reading incentives based around a theme. This year’s theme is Get A Clue @ Your Library.

Jeffersonville Township Public Library is running a similar program based around the same theme.

Lori Morgan, public service manager at the library, said more than 600 readers have signed up for the program to date and about 2,000 are expected by the end of summer.

Prizes — such as a pair of spy glasses and a spy hat — are given based on points that are accumulated by readers of all levels. Different types of books carry a different point value. Readers — the younger ones anyway — are given a detective badge when they sign up.

With standardized tests looming only a couple weeks into the school year for most school-age children, keeping reading skills fresh over the summer is critical, Morgan said.

“If they read over the summer, they’re going to be much farther ahead when they start school,” Morgan said.

She said the focus isn’t so much on academic reading as it is on encouraging kids to read what they like.

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