On Monday, the annual Summer Reading Program, sponsored by Casey Memorial Library, officially opened for registration.  This year’s theme is “Reading Colors Your World,” It’s open for all ages, and will run from June 15 to July 24.

“Once the program starts, (participants) can record the amount of time they spend reading on the website to earn prizes,” Rachael Bethel, public services librarian at Casey Memorial, said. “All prizes can be picked up in the Children’s Room at any time during our open hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday. The longer they read, the more prizes they can earn.”

In addition to the normal reading challenge, the library will be offering virtual activities.

“As participants read, they earn online badges and virtual tickets that can be put into an ‘end of the program’ drawing for prizes of their choice,” Bethel stated. “Participants can also complete online activity tracks on the Beanstack website by exploring different websites and completing different activities to earn additional tickets.”

Virtual Storytime will also be offered through the Fort Hood Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/forthoodfmwr, Fridays at 10 a.m. Presented by library staff member Cassandra Poindexter, the activity will involve a story being read and a craft being demonstrated. Those interested in completing the craft can pick up the supplies for free from the library at the end of each week.

In-person activities will also be offered throughout the summer at the library.

“For those who enjoy crafts but prefer something a little more challenging than the story time crafts, we will be offering a different take home craft kit every week for pickup in the Children’s Room,” Bethel remarked. “There will also be a selection of coloring pages and worksheets kids can take home for some extra fun, and for children aged 8-12, we are offering in-person programs such as Origami, Coding with Ozobots and the Olympics on Wednesdays at 2 p.m.”

Sign up for these activities are open, and due to limited supplies, will only be open to the age group as stated.

Summer reading programs have long been used to keep school children from losing the learning they gained during the previous school year, Bethel said. “It is especially important for school children, as participating in summer reading programs has been proven to reduce or eliminate ‘Summer Slide,’ or the loss of learning that occurs over summer breaks.

“Children who don’t read during the summer can lose up to two months of learning by the time they return to school in the fall, while children who read regularly over the summer, often score higher in reading and math when they return to school,” Bethel explained. “Reading to younger children also makes a big impact, by helping to promote their brain development and teaches them to listen.”

While these activities are being offered throughout the summer, the library wants the community to know they will also be undergoing some repairs.

“During June and July, the library will be undergoing repairs and a few renovations. Some areas of the building will be closed and collection access restricted, while other services may be paused unexpectedly,” Bethel remarked. “Due to space constraints, we are asking that all patrons wait to return their items until the due dates, and to consider using our extensive online resources collection to find new materials to enjoy at https://mwrlibrary.armybiznet.com.”

Information and registration for the summer reading program can be found at https://forthoodcasey.beanstack.org/reader365 or by calling 254-287-4921.