Multnomah County Library kicks off largest-ever Summer Reading program

PORTLAND, OR – Next Friday, June 18, Multnomah County Library launches the largest-ever Summer Reading program for Multnomah County. In total, over 60,000 students will sign up for Summer Reading through school promotion in 2010 — twice as many school sign-ups as 2009. The program runs until August 31.

This year, the library partnered with Portland Public Schools to enroll all K–8 students in the Summer Reading program. As a result of this partnership, the majority of public school students in Multnomah County will be able to participate. Centennial, Reynolds, Parkrose and David Douglas school districts, as well as many private schools, also register their students for the program.

To join the Summer Reading program, readers or their parents begin by picking up a gameboard from any Multnomah County library. Gameboards are customized for three age groups: birth–preschool (also available in Spanish), grades K–6 and grades 7–12. To participate, readers engage in any number of literacy-building activities and track their progress on their gameboards. As gameboards are completed, readers earn books, coupons for ice cream or swimming, and other prizes. Parents can also register to win a $1,000 Oregon College Savings Plan account from the Oregon College Savings Plan when they register their children.

Studies show that over the summer months, students lose about two months of reading comprehension skills. The Summer Reading program helps close that gap by giving kids an incentive to come to the library during the summer and take part in performances and activities. Most importantly, they return to school with their reading skills intact, ready to build on what they learned the year before.

"As a community, and a nation, there is great concern about the achievement gap — the gulf between the kids who succeed academically, and the kids who start school already behind the eight ball and never catch up," said Director of Libraries, Vailey Oehlke. "The Summer Reading program is a powerful tool to change that and help struggling students be successful."

The Summer Reading program is made possible by generous donations to The Library Foundation. Summer Reading 2010 is presented by KeyBank with major support from Oregon College Savings Plan and Tektronix.