Summer is here, and that means it’s time to play the Summer Reading game at your nearest branch of the Multnomah County Library. This program has evolved from its start in 1912 to become one of the nation’s most successful summer reading programs – with almost 110,000 participants last year, thanks to the generous support of The Library Foundation.

But Summer Reading is not just for fun; motivating kids to read over the summer makes a powerful difference in their long-term learning. Research has shown that the average student loses one month of learning time over the summer, and disadvantaged students regress twice as much.

The biggest slide comes in reading, and these losses accumulate over time. By ninth grade, two-thirds of the overall class-based achievement gap in reading is attributable to what happens – or doesn’t happen – over the summer. The Multnomah County Library wants to help you fight the summer slide with summer reading.

BookmarkSo how does it work? Kids of all ages from babies to 11th graders can come in to any Multnomah County Branch Library and sign up for Summer Reading. The program is structured as a game, complete with a gameboard that kids and teens fill out as they read (or, in the case of pre-readers, are read to) over the summer. Players earn prizes along the way as their gameboards are filled in; an assortment of age-appropriate incentives and gift certificates are available. All finishers receive a Summer Reading T-shirt (or Summer Reading onesie, in the case of those babies).

Also, finishers are entered into a grand prize drawing for a family vacation for four to Great Wolf Lodge and Water Park in Grandmound, Washington, and are eligible to win one of several runner-up prizes too. This year, many schools took advantage of the opportunity to sign students up for the Summer Reading game at school; kids not already registered to play can now do so at any neighborhood library beginning June 13.

And speaking of the summer slide, why not fight it off by reading with our library dog, Patton? Patton is a trained therapy dog who comes to the Sellwood-Moreland Branch Library each Wednesday evening to read with kids. He loves listening to stories and he is a great motivator for kids who are practicing reading aloud. Just call 503/988-5398 to sign up for a 30-minute appointment with Patton.

Summer Reading is made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to our library's leadership, innovation and reach through private support.

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