BEAUFORT – The Carteret County Public Library System’s 2021 Summer Reading Program, Tails and Tales, kicked off last week, with officials hoping to actively engage children and teenagers in learning to avoid the “summer slide.”

The program began on June 14th and is open to all ages, including adults. During the nine-week program, which runs through Monday, August 16, the library will offer virtual programs, grab and go activity kits, and priced reading challenges. As last year, the program will be virtual and free to the public.

The programs are offered for different age groups, from pre-kindergarten to adults. To view the full list of events and to register, visit carteretcountync.libcal.com/calendar.

Lesley Mason, director of the CCPL system, said the program helps motivate children who might otherwise experience a summer learning loss known as the “summer slide.”

“Studies show the harmful effects of learning losses in summer. According to the National Summer Learning Association, some children experience one to three months of reading loss during the summer, a phenomenon that mainly affects low-income students with no access to books when they are out of school, “Ms. Mason said. “Libraries work hard to keep families updated and popular all year round, but take special care to plan summer activities and events.”

To encourage reading in the summer, each participant who completes the program and submits a completed reading protocol will be entered into a raffle for a prize package that includes tickets to the NC Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores, a hand-signed book, and more. Every child and young person who finishes the program can choose a new paperback.

Ms. Mason said it is important that parents and carers take an active role in planning children’s library visits. She suggests that parents read in front of their children to mimic good habits and show that reading can be a pleasant activity, not a “task”.

“It is also important to allow children to choose materials that they want to read. Reading for pleasure is a lifelong habit that is nurtured when reading is fun and not labeled a chore, ”she added. “The best way to do this is to allow children to choose books that interest them. When they take responsibility for what they read, they are more motivated to read on. “

The library has reached out to the Carteret County Public School System, the Carteret Partnership for Children, and the Bridge Downeast to educate families about the summer reading program. Ms. Mason said the virtual program offers a degree of flexibility for participation as the content can be accessed at any time. For those who don’t have internet access at home, the library offers take-away and craft kits, as well as passive programs that can be enjoyed with a quick visit to the library.

“The decision to plan virtual programming this year was a difficult one, but it was made with great caution,” Ms. Mason said, referring to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Given that children are still largely unvaccinated, we wanted to be as safe as possible this year.”

Ms. Mason also highlighted June as National Audiobook Month, reminding users that the library offers several different digital and audiobook options and that public school students can use their student ID as a library card to access additional materials. She said audio helps improve reading comprehension and accuracy, as well as improving reading motivation.

As always, Ms. Mason encourages caregivers to read to their children.

“Reading together as a family creates shared memories and can be a source of togetherness. I encourage parents to read the same chapter books as their children, ”she said. “Wonderful critical discussions can arise when families read together.”

As for the hot books this summer, Ms. Mason said that graphic novels and fantasy books are becoming increasingly popular with children and teens, and are growing in popularity with adults too. She recommends Geronimo Stilton’s graphic novel series for younger children and the March Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell for older readers.

For more information on the library’s summer reading program, Tails and Tales, visit carteretcountync.libguides.com.

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.