Most Successful Summer Reading Club Ever at Rockford Public Library
ROCKFORD, IL--Rockford Public Libraryís 2003 Summer Reading Club, titled "Where's Jane? Reading at RPL!" had the most successful year ever with 5,946 children participating. The club had a 20% increase in joiners over the previous year. Two factors are attributed to the increase in community interest in the program. One is the $7,500 sponsorship from department store, Marshall Field's "Go Read" program which allowed RPL to expand the club's reach with professionally designed materials. A partnership with the local Burpee Museum of Natural History, featuring their recently discovered dinosaur, a nanotyrannus named Jane, also assisted RPL in achieving it's increase.
Huge numbers were posted throughout the club. At the kick-off party on May 30, 2003, over 2,000 people attended. At this party, the first 1,000 children to register for Summer Reading Club received a free Summer Reading Club t-shirt. At the Finisherís Party, 1,150 people attended for a visit to Burpee Museum with special games, crafts, activities, and snacks.
The success of RPL's 2003 Summer Reading Club received a special commendation from the local newspaper, the Rockford Register Star with the following editorial.
"Reading Club a Best Seller"
"Before school even started, nearly 6000 kids in Rockford had finished their most important lesson. They read.
The 2003 Summer Reading Club hit a 74-year record this year with 5,946 kids signing up and promising to read or listen to 15 books. The number of young people meeting the goal - 3,272 - was up 25 percent from last summer.
MORE THAN PERFECTING a back flip off the diving board, more than downing a record number of Popsicles, children should be proud of spending their summer developing a reading habit. Long after they have lost their nerve in a pool or have lost their taste for cherry ice, they can go to faraway places, learn new things, and find common ground through books.
Thank the sponsors of the reading club - the Rockford Public Library and the Burpee Museum of Natural History - for boosting participation this year. The library began in May with assemblies and class visits at public and private schools. More than 2000 people attended a kickoff party on May 30 that featured a Ski Broncs performance. Enrollment continued throughout the summer at a logical place - Park District swimming pools.
But reading should not be a seasonal activity. Parents can help by offering a daily reading time, such as before bed. Allow children to read what interests them, even if itís a bicycle manual. However, never force a child to read. That may set up negative connotations to last a lifetime. Set time limits for online chats or computer games. Turn the TV off. Visit the library and get your child his or her own library card.
AND, MOST important, be a role model by reading yourself." (Rockford Register Star, September 10, 2003)