CARLSBAD — Babies, children and teens celebrated another successful Summer Reading Program during the Carlsbad Library’s Make a Splash finale party on Aug. 9.
After seven weeks of reading, program participants were invited to the library to toast their accomplishments with carnival games, snacks and a live juggling performance at the Georgina Cole Library, 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive.
“We want kids to associate reading with fun,” children’s librarian Marsha Weeks said. “We want them having a positive experience to encourage them to come back.”
This year’s program focused on all things oceanic and saw a dramatic increase in participation from previous summers. More than 1,500 people from newborns to 12th- graders took part at the Cole Library, with an increase of 107 percent in baby participation alone.
“I really wanted to promote early literacy programs to parents,” said Weeks, who launched the program three years ago. “Reading 15 minutes a day is equivalent to 500 hours of education before children enter school.”
Reading programs were hosted at each of the library branches in Carlsbad, with 5,000-plus participating around the city.
The highly anticipated summer event encouraged reading content of any kind, including fiction, magazines and graphic novels. After reading a paragraph or an entire book, participants would report their experience to teen volunteers to discuss their likes, dislikes and more.
“They get an entry into a weekly raffle for every time they report to the teens,” Weeks said. “When they’ve done 10 reports, they get the ‘Big Catch’ — a collection of coupons, like a free pass to the zoo and to the Natural History Museum.”
Teen volunteers enjoyed spending their summer at the library and helping younger children develop an appreciation for reading. They were on hand at the program’s wrap party to staff the booths and stand in as the targets of the “Splash and Splat” game.
“You help people learn how to read and you get to hang out with your friends,” volunteer Jacob Molyneux, 12, said. “It’s been pretty fun, I really like doing the reports.”
Although funding for the annual event was cut due to the economy, the library was still able to put on a top-notch program with help from Friends of the Carlsbad Library.
“We are definitely program regulars,” said Laurie Clarke, who was with her children Lorelei and Leo. “We come here every Monday — we love this library!”
In addition to providing funding to purchase incentive prizes for every age level, the Friends group also donated vouchers for free books from their store at the Dove Library.