FAIRMONT - You can "Paws to Read" this summer at area libraries.
Martin County Library and its branches in Sherburn, Trimont, Truman, and Welcome; Blue Earth Community Library; and The Muir Library in Winnebago will all have Summer Reading Programs for all ages.
Starting dates vary, but details are available on the libraries' websites.
Heidi Schutt looks in on the Muir Library’s resident pets, Mac and Cheese. “Paws to Read” is the theme for the summer reading programs at area libraries.
Summer is the perfect time to read for fun, say local librarians. And there is a practical side to it.
"Studies have proven that when school ends in May, kids who read during the summer don't suffer as much from the 'summer slide,'" said Heidi Schutt, librarian at the Muir Library in Winnebago.
"Summer slide" is when children lose educational skills by not using them.
"Participation at any level is beneficial to help them be ready for school in the fall; it doesn't take that much to really make a difference," said Jenny Trushenski, Martin County Library director.
"It's good, as far as keeping them ready for school in the fall, but also to discover new reading material, books and stories," said Amanda Steinke, library clerk at Blue Earth Community Library.
Martin County Library will kick off its reading season on Monday, Trushenski said.
The Fairmont branch will have reading programs for preschool through teens.
"The teen program runs a little different, very loose structure," Trushenski said. "They earn prizes by reading and keeping track of their reading."
Prizes include gift cards and tech items.
Younger readers keep track of the time they read, said Jennifer Tow, children's librarian. For every three hours they read, they get a prize, such as restaurant coupons, pencils, Frisbees and a paperback book.
If they read 15 hours, they qualify for bigger prizes, like backpacks and tickets for county fair rides.
Blue Earth's Summer Reading for grades pre-K through fifth grade will begin Tuesday and end July 31. The goal is for them to read 20 minutes per day.
Children in grades 6-12 will have reading logs.
"After eight hours of reading, they get a prize out of the grab box," Steinke said.
Kids who turn in at least one reading log per month will be in the running for the grand prize for most time read over the whole summer.
They also can join the Blue Earth Library Teen Reading Program Group on Facebook.
Schutt is really getting into the "Paws to Read" theme at the Muir Library.
"We're taking it as far as having animals at the library," she said.
Resident gerbils Mac and Cheese will be on hand, as will rabbits and horses at the signup party at 7 p.m. June 9.
Children can sign up for the Summer Reading Program that day or later. Other activities on June 9 will include crafts and sidewalk chalk art.
As far as the Summer Reading Program, "we're flexible," Schutt said. "To earn a prize, all we ask them to do is read."
The grand prize will be a T-shirt purchased by the Friends of the Library and featuring a design by Kaden Osborn, a first-grader.
"To earn that shirt, they have to read 30 days in the summer," Schutt said.
The kids will receive a card to keep track of hours and can earn mystery prizes at milestones, such as 10, 15 and 20 days.
The teens will get a choice of 10 to 15 things they can do for Summer Reading program.
"Read a bio, write a poem or create a collage," Schutt said. "A little more advanced than reading evey day."
For more information visit martincountylibrary.org or becl.org or winnebago.tdslib.org