The Summer Reading Program is back! This year’s theme is “Oceans of Possibilities,” and you can sign up starting today, May 7.

Summer can bring a drop-off in learning called “summer slide” which has been well documented by educators. By the end of the sixth grade students who don’t read when they are out of school can see their reading skills decline and could wind up as much as two years behind those who read all year.

Reading as few as five books over the summer months can prevent that.

Tangipahoa Parish Library’s Summer Reading Program provides your children and teens with the books they need to improve their vocabularies and comprehension. Young people involved in this program are more likely to achieve not only in school, but also later in life.

Summer reading isn’t just for children and teens. Reading is exercise for the adult mind, too.

It engages your imagination and allows you the freedom to create the scenes, voices, settings, costumes and landscapes in your book. Reading improves your vocabulary and energizes you with others’ ideas, whether or not you agree with them.

Each child or young person who signs up for the Summer Reading Program will receive a “Summer Badge Book” filled with badges, stickers, fun challenges and many ways to make the book their own.

To sign up for the program online go to www.tangilibrary.com.

There are programs for each of the following:

n Children too young to read themselves

n Children who can read for themselves

n Teens

n Adults

There are incentives for signing up, and the more you read the better the prizes. Teens can improve their chances to win a Kindle Fire for every book they read. Each book an adult reads improves their chances to win a gift basket valued at $150.

The real prize for summer reading, however, is a better life and a better understanding of the world.

I encourage everyone in our parish to read and to read to others. Make the Tangipahoa Parish Library a part of your summer. Sign up for the Summer Reading Program today. You will be glad you did.

Bradford is the director of the Tangipahoa Parish Library.

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