On your mark, get set…READ at the Library this summer!


By Jimmie Epling
Darlington County Library System

As the school year races to its inevitable end, readers of all ages are invited to exercise their minds this summer with the Darlington County Library System’s 2016 Summer Reading Program. The theme of this year’s summer reading program is wellness, fitness, and sports. All ages are invited to join in the free fun programs and earn prizes during June and July at the Library.
The Summer Reading Program officially kicks off with a high energy retelling of the race between the tortoise and the hare called “The Epic Race.” The theater group Porkchop Productions brings this classic tale to life in a unique and entertaining way for all ages. You can catch the show on June 7th at the Darlington Branch at 10 a.m. and the Lamar Branch at 2 p.m. or on June 8th at the Hartsville Branch at 10 a.m. and the Society Hill Branch at 2 p.m. This program is free and open to everyone.

After the kick off program, our special summer reading programs will sprint to a July 27th finish line with the “Flying Debris Extravaganza Juggle-Palooza,” a show of extreme juggling skill mixed with a healthy dose of sharp wit and comic banter. Along the way, there will be programs like “Dance Fun,” “Ninja Academy,” “Cooking for Champions,” “Furry Fitness,” “Zombie Apocalypse Training,” “Game Day,” “Young Yogis,” “Madden Football Tournament,” “90s Throwback,” “Mud, Sweat, and Gears,” and “Drills, Spills, and Thrills.” For dates and times of all the programs at all our location, Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar, and Society Hill, go to our webpage at www.darlington-lib.org to get a schedule.

Early registration opens on Monday, May 23rd. You can go to the Library’s website at www.darlington-lib.org on that day to register. You can register in one of four age groups, Listeners (ages 0-4), Readers (ages 5 – 11), Teens (ages 12-19), and Adults (age 20+).

The program’s slogan for all children under 12 is “On Your Mark, Get Set…READ.”

The teen program catchphrase is “Get in the Game: READ.”

The “Exercise Your Mind. READ” program is geared for adult readers.

When you register, you create a personal summer reading page to track your reading and participation in the program. Parents this year have the option of registering themselves and their children as a family. Also, childcare centers can register all their children as a group.

The Library has three recognition and prize levels for participants. You can earn points to reach each level by reading, completing a “mission” on the website, attending a program, and volunteering at the Library. Reach the first level and you will receive a certificate. At the second level, you will receive a “Summer Reading” button. Each child that reaches the third level will receive a summer reading medal to hang around his or her neck. There will be books, coupons for free stuff, Hartsville Splashpad tickets, and other prizes awarded as well during the program. Teens and adults who reach the second level will qualify for a field trip to the Bethlehem Therapeutic Stables on July 21st. Teens who reach the third level are invited to attend the “Game-On” National Teen Lock-In event at the Darlington Library, on Friday, July 29th. It will be an evening of storytelling, a magic show, an online chat with a famous author, fun, food, games, and prizes.

Your personal page allows you to track what you read during the summer. The book you read can be in print, electronic, or audio format. Yes, we will count the audiobooks you listen to while traveling or working around the house. It’s all the same to us. A nice addition to this year’s program is children’s electronic picture books on our website that can be counted when read.
The website allows you to play games and earn points too. At each level you complete, you can unlock a cool game that is age appropriate. All ages can earn electronic badges by logging in books read and playing the games.

You can do special sports related activities called “Missions” that can earn you points toward your goal. There are “Missions” for each age group to complete, such as drawing a sports related picture for the youngest participants or attending a sports event and uploading a selfie of you onto your personal summer reading page.

The Library sponsors a summer reading program every year because we want to foster a love of reading in children. To succeed, children must become readers. The Library offers not just a summer reading program, it offers a summer reading experience for children, parents, and all family members. Through our collections, programs, activities, and services we encourage reading. We do this because, as any teacher will tell you, children need to continue to read during the summer break to maintain their reading skills, otherwise they may experience the “Summer Slide.”

If a child does not continue to read during their summer vacation, reading skills tend to deteriorate, slipping two months or more behind what a child achieved at the end of the school year. Our goal for the summer reading program is to inspire children and teens to read for the pleasure of reading a good story or to discover the world around them during their time off this summer. This is one way we help Darlington County’s children become successful.

The Darlington County Library System always looks forward to the summer reading program. This year we want you to enjoy the pleasures of reading for fun and along the way to exercise your mind.

Author: Jana Pye

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