The Mint Hill branch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library invites everyone to participate in this year’s Summer Break program!
The Summer Break program encourages year-round learning by offering children of all ages access to learning activities that help prevent what’s known as the “summer slide,” the idea that when school dismisses for summer, kids are left without opportunities to exercise their brains and metaphorically backslide, undoing some of the hard-earned work of learning they have accomplished during the school year.
Though the “summer slide” is something that affects school-aged children, the summer break program is open to children, teens and adults of all ages. Everyone is encouraged to read for 20 minutes a day and complete additional learning activities. Completing the program requires 20 hours of work: 20 hours of reading or 10 hours of reading plus 10 additional activities.
Although many people still refer to it as “summer reading,” the current program encompasses so much more. Completing the program still requires a minimum of 10 hours of reading, but reading is only one of the six activities that participants can log. Additional categories include writing, creating, playing, exploring and giving. The expansion of the program reflects the many different ways that children and adults exercise their brains and learn during the summer months.
The library provides recommendations from each category of additional activities. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that many of the suggestions are activities you already do regularly, like making a shopping list with your child, going swimming or visiting the library. Other suggestions, like attending a poetry slam, volunteering at an animal shelter, or visiting a local historical site, may push you to try something new.
No one is too young or too old for summer break. Even very young children can participate through activities like singing a silly song, stacking blocks to make a tower, or visiting a new park. The dashboard where participants log their activities is designed to be convenient for families and make it easy to log activities completed together.
The biggest and most exciting change to this year’s summer break program is the library’s new partnership with Carowinds. Each participant who completes the summer break program and logs activities 9 out of 10 weeks will be eligible to receive one free Carowinds ticket valid through the end of the 2018 season. A valid library card must be tied to each registrant’s profile in order to earn a Carowinds ticket. If you have a very young child who does not yet have a library card, you may enter your own.
The summer break program runs through August 12, but Carowinds tickets will be available to those who complete it beginning on July 30. They’re only available while supplies last, so if you’re hoping to earn that free Carowinds ticket, you’ll want to make sure your activity log is up to date at the end of July.
One other change to this year’s summer break program involves the weekly drawings for participants. Last year, anyone who logged activity in a particular week was entered in a system-wide drawing for tickets to various events. This year the library will give away three Kindle Fire tablets per week: one to a baby or child, one to a teen, and one to an adult. Anyone who logs at least one activity in a particular week is automatically entered into these county-wide drawings. Winners will be notified via email.
In addition to these new and exciting incentives, the library is offering other familiar prizes to those who participate in and complete the program. Just for signing up, you will receive a voucher for a free Wendy’s frosty and a $5 fine waiver. Upon completion of 5, 10 and 20 hours of reading, you will receive an additional $5 fine waiver. Babies and children who complete the program will receive a free book; teens will have a choice of a book or a drawstring library tote bag, and adults will receive a library tote.
Join your friends and wear your pajamas for Mint Hill’s official Summer Break Kick-Off on Saturday, June 16, from 2:00 – 4:00. There will be a Pajama Jammy Jam for teens, PJ Mask Characters for preschoolers and plenty of fun for all ages in between. Make sure to add the Kick-Off to your activity log after you leave!
If you participated last summer, enrolling for this year is easy: just log back into your account, and you’ll be asked whether you want to participate again. You and everyone you registered last year will be enrolled, and you’ll automatically earn your welcome badge, $5 fine waiver and frosty voucher. If you haven’t participated before, it’s never too late to get started! Visit summerbreak.cmlibrary.org and click “Get Started.” The summer break program is free and open to everyone from newborns to senior citizens.