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June 19, 2024

Summer reading program returns

SOUTH COUNTY — The Summer Reading Program is underway at Monterey County Free Libraries with the theme “Reading Takes You Everywhere.”

“It’s well researched that kids who read during the summer and maintain some kind of academic activity, like reading or working on projects, maintain the skills they learned in school,” said Managing Librarian Be Astengo. “When they go back to school in the fall, they’re more ready and they don’t fall into the summer slide.”

Over the years, libraries have been hosting the Summer Reading Program to help children maintain their basic academic skills.

Support comes from the Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries, which hosts fundraisers that benefit the libraries and also helps to gather performers for the special events that occur at each location.

“We try to make it fun and entertaining for kids to come to the library,” Astengo said.

The Summer Reading Program and Culture Club includes a summer reading log to track the books each participant reads and the library entertainment they attend. After every 20 minutes of reading that a child completes, they get to move a space, and after two hours of reading they can collect one prize. When the journey is complete, the child can collect a free book.

A similar program is available to teens and adults; however, the challenges come in the shape of a Bingo board. Among the challenges are reading a poetry book, listening to an audiobook, taking a walk on the beach or in a park, discovering something new on the website, reading a graphic novel or magazine and several others. A raffle ticket is earned every time a BINGO is completed.

“If they complete three assignments, like reading a poetry book, a magazine and a graphic novel, then they can collect a logo prize,” Astengo explained. “They can get up to three raffle tickets and we have some prizes for them to win.”

The lineup of entertainment performers at the libraries included Juan Sanchez, a professor at CSUMB and also a musician who performed in King City, San Lucas and Greenfield this past week. Sanchez is originally from Spain and performed in Spanish for library goers. The other entertainment for the past week was Rock Steady Juggling, who visited Soledad, Gonzales and the Buena Vista library branches.

This week will be bilingual storytelling featuring Liz Mangual in King City at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Some of the upcoming Summer Reading Program performers include Spector Dance, a magician and Cascada de Flores.

Monterey County Sheriff’s Office was also asked to participate and will be bringing its K-9 units to San Lucas on June 20 at 1:30 p.m. as well as San Ardo on June 26 for library patrons.