Somerset County, NJ -  A 2014 study by Scholastic reported that both parents (71%) and kids (54%) rank strong reading skills as the most important skill a kid should have. However, while 86% of parents say reading books for fun is extremely or very important, only 46% of kids agree.*

Reading can be fun - and Somerset County Library System of New Jersey is going to show you how this summer with Summer Reading Clubs for all ages, June 22-August 21. SCLSNJ’s Summer Reading Clubs will explore heroes, with each age group putting a different spin on the exploration: early readers through preschool and children grades K-5 will learn that Every Hero Has a Story; tweens and teens grades 6-12 will Unmask; and adults ages 18+ will Escape the Ordinary. Participants will be rewarded for their efforts, with six grand prizes for kids, three grand prizes for tweens and teens, and three grand prizes for adults. SCLSNJ will also offer incentives to participants for reaching reading milestones throughout the summer.

Last summer, almost 10,000 county children, tweens and teens participated in SCLSNJ’s Summer Reading Club. Together, they read over 7 million minutes. This year, SCLSNJ would like to see those numbers increase.

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“There is a study done by Barbara Heyns that states that ‘the number of books read during the summer is consistently related to academic gains’,” said Laura Mellor, head of youth services at SCLSNJ’s Hillsborough Library branch. “Another study done by Stephen Krashen confirmed that ‘free voluntary reading resulted in better reading comprehension, writing style, vocabulary, spelling and grammatical development.’ Our Summer Reading Clubs are designed to encourage kids to read throughout the summer so that valuable reading and writing skills will continue to develop.”  

It’s important to SCLSNJ that adults read for fun, too. According to the same 2014 Scholastic study, there are several predictors that children ages 6-17 will be frequent readers (defined by the study as reading for fun 5-7 days a week), one of which is having parents who are frequent readers. But SCLSNJ doesn’t want just adults who are parents to read.

“Adults who are avid readers, as well as those wanting an incentive to read, are all encouraged to come together as a community and read towards our collective goal of 15,000 books,” said Selwa Shamy, SCLSNJ’s support services manager. “Participants will receive a complimentary tote bag for joining and will have a chance to win prizes. To add to the fun, book reviews may also be written and shared with fellow participants.”

“This year, our Summer Reading Club participants will sign up and track their reading online,” said Rich Loomis, SCLSNJ’s digital services manager. “It’s an easy and convenient way of tracking Summer Reading Club participation - and you won’t have to worry if you accidentally recycled or misplaced your paper log. If you don’t have a computer or internet access, you can visit any of our 10 library branches and we’ll help you get online and signed up -- and we’ll continue to help you track your progress all summer long.”

To register to participate in SCLSNJ’s Summer Reading Clubs, between June 22 and August 21, visit sclsnj.org/s/sclsnjsummerreading. Click on the appropriate age group tab. Click the Sign Me Up button. Complete required fields and click save. Log in using your username and password. Every time you return to the site to record what you've read, click on the appropriate age group tab and log in using your username and password. Keep track of your progress.

Remember, reading involves books, ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines (available through Flipster) magazines, and newspapers, too!  

For more information, visit SCLSNJ.org or contact your local library branch.  

About Somerset County Library System of New Jersey

Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) partners with you to connect, to explore, to share and to discover. Together we enrich lives, expand knowledge and strengthen communities. SCLSNJ branches can be found in Bridgewater, Bound Brook, Hillsborough, Manville, North Plainfield, Peapack & Gladstone, Rocky Hill at Mary Jacobs Memorial Library, Somerville, Warren Township and Watchung. Additionally, there are two SCLSNJ reading stations in Branchburg and Washington Valley.Visit SCLSNJ.org for further information about library services offered at SCLSNJ.