Library Reading Programs Entice Kids to Crack Open Books

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Kutz Daily Herald Correspondent

Now that school's out, it's time to start a reading program.

Before assuming your child won't be interested or you won't have time, take another look at the ways your local library helps make reading more fun - and rewarding.

Out-of-school reading hours may come alive for your child when lots of incentives and prizes are part of the picture, local librarians say.

And even if your child reads nothing but the "Goosebumps" series by R.L. Stine this summer, that's OK, librarians say. At least your child is reading.

"The pictures on the cover are a bit misleading," said Annis Annala, a youth services assistant at Roselle Public Library.

"If you aren't sure about a particular series of books your child wants to read, you may want to read a few first," she said.

Most second- through fifth-graders are reading the series books, Annala said. "It's a trend in children's books. We have stacks of paperbacks, but a lot of the kids go straight for the series books."

Nil Akgul, 11, said that's what she plans to read this summer before starting sixth grade at Kennedy Junior High School in Naperville.

"A lot of people usually read 'Goosebumps,' " she said. "Even little kids, like in second grade. I like them because they have interesting endings."

Akgul said another favorite is the Redwell series by Brian Jacques.

"Those are about Medieval times and kids and some little mice living in a place called Redwall Alley," she said.

Becky Cross, also 11, hopes to read nothing but "junk" this summer.

Cross, who will attend Jefferson Junior High in Naperville this fall, recently participated in a "Battle of the Books" program that requires selected fourth- and fifth-grade students to read 40 award-winning books and answer questions about them in a competition between schools.

Her favorite was called "The Pirates Mixed-Up Voyage" by Margaret Mahy because it was "crazy and funny," she said.

But now she's ready for some lighter summer reading fare. …