Library adds summer reading program for teens

By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer

The Portales Public Library is launching a new summer reading program designed to get teenagers booked while giving them a chance to win an MP3 player. Librarians hope younger children also “catch the reading bug.”

“Catch the Reading Bug” is the theme for the summer program for children in pre-K to sixth grade and “Metamorphosis” is the theme for the new teen summer reading program, both of which kick off on Saturday.

“The purpose of the new summer reading program for teens is to encourage them to read. It is just as important for teens to read as it is for younger kids,” said Heather Christensen, the youth services librarian at Portales City Library.

“We have been working on building up a teen program throughout the year,” said Christensen. “We had a teen writer’s workshop panel in April and there has been interest. In fact, we have a teen advisory board and blog.”

Portales City Library Director Denise Burnett said, “We are having a more extensive young adult summer reading program than we have had in the past. During our writer’s workshops for teens in the spring, we had over 50 attend.”

Christensen said both the children’s and teen reading programs will have reading incentives based on the amount of time they spent reading rather than the number of books they read.

Children may also read Spanish books and registration information is available in Spanish as well.

Younger children will log their time by coloring in bugs after each 15 minutes of reading time.

When they log two hours of reading, or color off eight bugs, they get a prize.

As for teens, for every four hours spent reading, they can fill out a form for a chance to win an MP3 player at the end of the program.

Christensen said different activities are being planned for each day of the program, and she hopes that will get students of all ages excited about reading.

“Already, with school out, we are seeing kids in here with books, engrossed in reading. To me, that is exciting and I hope it will continue,” Christensen said.

“A lot of times, if kids are not reading over the summer, they lose a lot,” she said.

“This program gives them a chance to keep reading. It also promotes reading for pleasure,” Christensen said.

“There are no papers of homework involved. They just read and enjoy the books, and that’s why, in the program, we try to read some fun things,” she said.

According to Burnett, the summer reading program expects between 250 to 300 participants.

“We have a very energetic program, and I’m excited. We can do a lot with bugs,” Burnett said.