A part of a Somerset County Library System of New Jersey initiative to foster better reading habits, the library will be the host to a summer reading challenge for Hillsborough children, according to county officials.
The Hillsborough Public Library is spearheading this challenge at the Hillsborough branch.
“As a former children’s librarian, I find this time to be the most exciting time this summer to be in the library. It is exciting to see the children come in and be so happy,” said Karen Pifher, manager of the Hillsborough Public Library. “We are helping them maintain their reading proficiency over the summer.”
She said a summer slide can happen when children are not able to maintain their reading skills over the summer.
“They return back to school in September at a lower level, whether it is in reading or comprehension. This helps maintain [their current] level so that they do not regress over the summer,” Pifher said. “The children come in excited, log their days and we have trivia fact contests all through the summer.”
Beginning on June 17, the summer reading challenge will continue through Aug. 17.
According to Pifher, they have several partners this year for the challenge. They include the Somerset Patriots, who have donated tickets for games, Applebee’s, Chipotle, Somerset County Business partnership and the Barnes & Noble in Bridgewater.
“These partnerships mean a great deal to the success of this program. It enables us to have a broader reach and encourage children to come to the library,” she said.
The program incentivizes reading with prizes for those who participate. People can record reading online, in person at the library or on the Beanstack app.
Beanstack is a cellular application tool designed for reading challenges based on having participants log reading time, completing certain academic activities and posting reviews, according to company officials.
“When one child in the family signs up they all do. We do encourage the older children to read to the younger children and vice versa as part of participating the reading challenge,” Pifher said. “This just an opportunity for everyone to come in and share reading.”
People are still able to register to participate in the summer reading challenge. Those interested can register all the way up until the last day of the program and log any days that they have read from June 17 until now, can be added to book logs, according to Pifher.
She said people will still be able to collect the reading incentives.
“I hope this program continues to encourage people’s love of reading, their exploration of the world through reading and connect with other people. I hope people will explore new thoughts and ideas,” Pifher said.
For information about the reading challenge, visit www.sclsnj.beanstack.org.