In Santa Monica, kids and teens read. At the Santa Monica Public Library, the “Read to the Rhythm” (for kids) and “Play, Dance, Read!” (for teens) summer reading themes kept the reading stats rocking.
Despite the temporary closure of the Fairview Branch, participation continued to be strong. The library’s 2015 summer reading program for babies through teenagers saw an increase in participation at the Main and Pico Branch libraries, with 4,601 children and teens participating system wide, and just over 2 million minutes read.
The Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library sponsored printed materials, programs and prizes for the 10-week program, which is designed to help children and teens maintain and increase literacy skills during the summer months while on their school break.
The library offered 352 story times and reading-related programs during the summer, with 13,178 in attendance. Kids and teens also wrote even more book reviews than last summer (644) which were posted for other students to read and get recommendations on what to read next.
This summer’s reading program once again included the “Baby & Me” club, which engages parents and their babies by providing them with a free board book to add to their baby’s library and get a head start on literacy.
Teen participation was strong, and those who completed the program (reading 30 hours or more) attended an end-of-the-summer pizza party to celebrate their achievements. Other teen programs included a Teen Writers’ Workshop, in which teen writers – one workshop for middle school students and one for high school students – met for three sessions with local YA authors. In addition, 354 free copies of Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One,” the SAMOHI summer reading book selection, were given out to SAMOHI students. This book giveaway was sponsored by the Santa Monica Kiwanis Club.
According to the American Library Association, numerous studies show that summer reading programs help ensure that children retain reading and learning skills over the summer. Most of all, however, summer reading programs are geared for reading for the fun of it. Study after study has shown that reading for pleasure (not assigned reading) is the best incentive to encourage lifelong learning. Literacy increases when kids and teens read whatever they choose. After 10 weeks, with 4,601 kids and teens participating, it’s safe to say the Santa Monica Public Library is helping increase the literacy of our community’s kids and teens!
For more information about free library programs, visitsmpl.orgor call the Youth Services Department at (310) 458-8621.
The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair-accessible. For special disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606. The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus routes 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Bicycle parking racks are available.

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