EAST BRUNSWICK, NJWith summer rapidly approaching, it means many things ranging from the end of the school year to time to start planning a vacation. For the East Brunswick Public Library it means that the annual summer reading program is about to begin.

“Every year we look forward to our summer reading program,” said Library Director Jennifer Podolsky. “The program is a great time to visit the library, and to check out all of the great collections, services and programs we offer.”

The purpose of summer reading isn’t just to showcase libraries. According to the American Library Association, summer reading programs began as far back as the 1890s as a way to encourage children to keep reading during the summer break.

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“There have been several studies that show kids who read during the summer do better during the school year. Our program not only promotes literacy, but it also shows that reading is fun,” she added.

The theme for this year’s summer reading program is “On Your Mark, Get Set...Read!” and is geared toward promoting the importance of reading. The library’s program is divided into four age groups:

Kids (grades K-5) can earn the chance to win prizes for each day that they read for at least 20 minutes. There will be drawings for larger prizes on July 9, July 23 and August 13.

Tweens (grades 6 and 7) who read seven books and write four book reviews will be entered into a drawing for an iPad Mini.

Teens (grades 8-12) win prizes for every five books they read. Every other Friday, special prize drawings will take place for everyone who has logged books or written reviews. Teens in grades 10-12 are also encouraged to join the online EBPL Teen Book Club as well.

Adults are entered into a drawing for a gift card with each book they read over the summer.

Sign up for the summer reading program is free. Registration and tracking is done online at www.ebpl.org/src. Summer reading begins on June 18 and runs through early August.

In addition to the reading programs, the library has scheduled several corresponding special events throughout the summer. Kick off events for kids and tweens will be held at the library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) on June 22.

East Brunswick Public Library will also begin summer hours effective June 19. The library will be closed on Sundays through September 11. Library users are advised to check out the website www.ebpl.org for access to eBooks, online magazines and other materials.