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April 1, 2019

Summer Reading: A Universe of Stories at Your Local Library

Originally published in the April 2019 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

When schools close their doors for the summer, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library opens our doors a little wider to welcome children to our locations all around the county. Our summer theme this year is Universe of Stories, and we’re celebrating reading, sharing and telling of stories from around the globe with free reading incentive programs, classes and events.

Related: Tampa Bay Parenting’s 2019 Summer Camp Guide: Find Your Child’s Perfect Summer Camp

Library summer reading programs are designed to keep children reading during vacation to prevent the dreaded “summer slide,” when students lose some achievement gains made during the previous school year over the summer. Studies show that reading just 20 minutes per day over the summer can keep kids from slipping, and that children are more likely to keep reading for pleasure if they choose what they want to read themselves.

Related: Best Children’s Books: Local Kids Share Their Favorite Titles

This summer we’re encouraging children to track their reading with our “Out of this World” program. Children birth through grade 12 can log reading hours online using Beanstack, a website that tracks and rewards reading time. They’ll earn digital badges, and can visit the library to pick up space-tacular rewards throughout the summer! At the end of the summer, if they meet the goal of 24 hours of reading, children of all ages will take home a book of their choice. In addition, everyone who tracks their reading using Beanstack will be entered into a weekly drawing for the opportunity to win 2 tickets to Zoo Tampa or The Florida Aquarium.

Need some great reads this summer? There’s something for every young reader in our print and digital collections. Even if your local branch doesn’t have exactly what your little reader wants, our staff can help you place holds to have the greatest children’s stories in the galaxy delivered from another location. Can’t make it to a library? Check out our eBooks! We have several ways to read and discover books online.

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries also offer free educational and cultural activities to engage children all summer long. These events and classes help them maintain their intellectual growth and critical thinking skills while having fun and making summer memories.

There will be many “out of this world” classes to choose from: Meet some birds or reptiles from around the world, enjoy live children’s theatre, listen to live music, build and code a space rover, or bring a thrilling space adventure to life by creating your own stop-motion Sci-fi movie! Check our online calendar for events at a library near you.

The library is a valuable resource in our community to help your child develop a positive relationship to reading, access experiences to further develop their sense of discovery, and just have a great time when school is out. Visit us this summer and explore the Universe of Stories!

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