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Santa Monica Library Summer Reading Program Draws Strong Participation, Officials Say

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By Lookout Staff

October 1, 2015 -- Some 4,600 children and teens participated in the Santa Monica Public Library's  10-week-long summer reading program this year, library officials reported Wednesday.

The strong showing for the program, called "Read to the Rhythm," came despite the temporary closure of the Fairview Branch, with both  the Main and Pico Branch Libraries seeing increases over last year, officials said.

All told, the library offered 352 story times and reading-related programs totaling more than 2 million minutes of reading times that drew a total attendance of 13,178, according to library officials. Kids and teens wrote 644 book reviews that were posted for other students to enjoy, also an increase over last summer.

The Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library sponsored printed materials, programs and prizes for the 10-week program, which is “designed to help children and teens maintain and increase literacy skills during the summer months while on their school break,” officials said.

“This summer’s reading program once again included our 'Baby & Me' club, which engages parents and their babies by providing them with a free board book to add to their baby’s library and get a head start on literacy,” library officials said.

The teen program also saw a strong showing, and those who completed the program by reading 30 hours or more were treated to an end-of-the-summer pizza party, officials said.

The teen program included a writers’ workshop for middle school students and one for high school students that met with local YA authors, according to library officials. SAMOHI students received 354 free copies of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, the school's summer reading book selection, courtesy of the Santa Monica Kiwanis Club.

“According to the American Library Association, numerous studies show that summer reading programs help ensure that children retain reading and learning skills over the summer,” library officials said.

“Most of all, however, summer reading programs are geared for reading for the fun of it,” officials said. “Study after study has shown that reading for pleasure (not assigned reading) is the best incentive to encourage lifelong learning. Literacy increases when kids and teens read whatever they choose.”

For more information about free library programs, visit or call the Youth Services Department at (310) 458-8621.

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