Delaware County librarians hope local kids and teens will "Dig into Reading" this summer.
Summer reading programs for 2013 kick off Saturday, June 8, at all four branches of the Delaware County District Library.
Children and teens younger than 18 can sign up to log their reading hours and earn prizes through Aug. 3. The libraries also will host adult versions of the reading program.
The theme for this year's program is "Dig into Reading," and the local libraries will host digging-themed activities throughout the summer, including a family program on gardening and educational programs about rocks and dinosaur fossils.
Fun and prizes aside, reading is vital to keep children learning after school lets out, said Connie Pottle, youth services manager for the Delaware County District Library.
A lull in learning can cause some students to fall behind during the summer months, and the impact is greater the younger they are, Pottle said.
"Reading as few as six books in the summer can increase a kid's vocabulary and comprehension skills, and they will start the next school year ready to go," she said.
She added: "We try to provide some incentives to make it a little more fun."
That includes a toy prize for six hours of logged reading, and a free book for 12 hours logged. Children who read for more than 12 hours are eligible to enter a drawing for the grand prize: a gift certificate to a book store.
For teens, a grand-prize drawing will be held to win a Kindle Fire tablet computer.
Families also are invited to attend a variety of other fun programs throughout the summer, including visits from Nancy Lockard, "The Turtle Lady." The programs let children get up close and personal with more than 50 turtles, snakes and lizards.
An animal show-and-tell session from the Columbus Zoo also is planned, as are other family programs featuring jugglers, storytellers and a beekeeper.
Visit delawarelibrary.org for a full list of program dates and times.
Adults also can participate in a program to log each book they read this summer and be entered in drawings for gift cards.
"It's a fun way for parents to do something alongside their kid who is participating, but it doesn't have the level of structure as the kids' program," said Joe O'Rourke, library adult services manager.
Those who want to take part may sign up for summer reading programs on or after June 8 at any of the library's four branches:
* Delaware Main Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware.
* Orange branch, 7171 Gooding Blvd., Orange Township.
* Ostrander branch, 75 N. Fourth St., Ostrander.
* Powell branch, 460 S. Liberty Road, Powell.