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Cropping up all over! Participants in Worthington Libraries Summer Reading League are easy to spot.

As of June 27, close to 7,000 children and teens have signed up for the Worthington Libraries Summer Reading League, which is generously sponsored by the Friends Foundation of Worthington Libraries in partnership with the Columbus Clippers baseball team.

Studies show students who don't read over the summer have a difficult time catching up when the school year resumes. The Summer Reading League encourages participants to read during their break by offering prizes at different stages of the program based on the amount of time spent reading.

The first prize received is a puzzle eraser (or rubber duck for our youngest readers), and the second prize is a coupon sheet full of fabulous offers from local businesses. The coupons include discounted admission to the Worthington Pools, free Donatos pizza, free ice cream at Dairy Queen, free family admission to the Columbus Museum of Art, and free admission and skate rental at Skate Zone 71-among so many others. The coupons are not only great for participants and their families, they are a fantastic display of community support for the library's summer reading program.

Once they have completed the program, each participant receives free admission for their family to one of three Columbus Clippers baseball games. They are also entered into a drawing for a bicycle (kids) or an iPod touch (teens).

Kids and teens who reach the midpoint of the program also receive a yard sign identifying their house as the home of a Worthington Libraries summer reader. As one of our board members, Linda Mercadante, stated, "Homes of school athletes are typically denoted with a sign. It's nice to recognize readers and academic achievement in the same way."

The Summer Reading League continues through Saturday, Aug. 3, so there is still plenty of time for kids to sign up and finish the program. Registration is easy and available online: worthingtonlibraries. org/visit/services/reading-league.

Finally, don't forget about our super summer programs.

Teens can enjoy a Videogame Extravaganza at Worthington Park Library on July 11, at 3:30 p.m. If the force is with you, come in costume on July 13, and join us for Star Wars Day, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., throughout Old Worthington Library. On July 26, at 7 p.m., we'll host the Scioto Valley Brass Band at Northwest Library in our final outdoor concert of the season.

Enjoy your summer and keep on reading.

Chuck Gibson is director/ CEO of Worthington Libraries.

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