This is the first year The St. Louis County Library is partnering with The Salvation Army for its Summer Reading Program, and both organizations have high hopes for its success.
A few representatives from The St. Louis County Library visited The Salvation Army Day Camp at the Gateway Citadel Corps on June 11 to tell the young campers about the program.
Jennifer McBride, St. Louis County Library communications director, says the Summer Reading Program is the library’s most popular program in the summer with more than 30,000 kids joining each year.
Because of its past success, The Summer Reading Program decided to team up with The Salvation Army’s Day Camp to share the experience with others who also could benefit.
The Summer Reading Program encourages children to read all summer long. Participants are given a log to keep track of their reading hours, and the minimum that can be logged is 20 minutes of reading, or completing one children’s book.
The Book Mobile staff will bring books to The Gateway Citadel each week for kids to check out and read while at camp or at home.
When a certain amount of reading has been achieved and campers have reached a first, second or third level, prizes can be won. Campers must read 12 books to advance to each level.
Larger prizes for the completion of the entire program include being entered in a raffle for Blues or Cardinals tickets. The children can read whatever book they desire, with the prizes serving as a helpful motivator.
McBride says she hopes this program will have lasting effects on the participants.
“The goal is to increase literacy,” says McBride, “and to avoid brain drain during the summer, to keep them plugged into reading.”
This program will ensure children’s knowledge is harvested even when they are not in school and hopefully will introduce them to the world of libraries. If The Salvation Army Day Camp is successful with this program, The St. Louis County Library will look for more partnerships for their Summer Reading Program in the future.
The kids are excited about the prospect of reading all summer, and the excitement wasn’t just about the prizes. About a third of the children had their hands raised eager to ask questions about the program.
Campers wanted to know if they could read whatever books they wanted, who they could read with, or just simply to tell about their favorite reading moment to the St. Louis County Library representative.
“They’re here every day, so it’s an easy, captive audience,” says McBride about the children at The Salvation Army Day Camp.