Topic: Summer Reading Programme

Topic type:

Background to the Summer Reading Programme.

The Summer Reading Programme is a hugely successful incentive-based reading programme that has been encouraging reading, books and libraries amongst the children of the Eastern and Central region since 1997. Each year a new theme is developed for the programme and these have ranged from the prehistoric 'Jurassic Joyride', the fantasy-themed 'Reading is Fantastic', and the futuristic 'Rocket into Reading'. The programme is now offered by Eastern and Central libraries from Gisborne in the North to Martinborough in the South, and has been on-sold to other libraries around the country.

The Summer Reading Programme was established after the Eastern and Central Community Trust agreed to financially support the development of a New Zealand based reading programme in response to a submission made by Hastings, Masterton and Napier libraries. A seminar in February 1997 resulted in a commitment by the regions libraries to participate and the appointment of a committee, and the first programme 'Sail Into Summer Reading' was offered over the summer of 1997/98.

The committee has been responsible for organizing graphics, printing, storytellers, the programme manual and graphics guide, rewards and incentives, as well as providing newsletters, reporting to the Eastern and Central Community Trust, and developing future programmes. In 1999 the programme was augmented by the introduction of a programme aimed at meeting the needs of Young Adults, now known as 'Read Plus', while in 2005 'Winter Warmers' was introduced to provide a welcome distraction during the middle of winter.

Children enrolled in these programmes talk to library staff about the books they have been reading (or had read to them) and in exchange receive incentive prizes. Those kids who complete the programme (by reporting in to the library on four or more occasions over the six weeks of the programme) are also eligible to attend finale celebrations with more prizes, certificates, food and entertainment. All of this is offered for free thanks to the work of councils, libraries, and the financial support of the Eastern and Central Community Trust.

Masterton Library has always been very involved with the Summer Reading Programme and been well represented on the committee. Sandy Green was part of the initial group that established the programme and was convenor of the committee until 2007. In 2009 Jon Adams took up a place on the committee having previously been involved when he was employed at Carterton Library. Masterton also looks to enroll more children on both the Winter Warmers and Summer Reading Programme than any other library in the region.

The Summer Reading Programme has been an incredibly successful initiative. Children enrolled on the programme have an opportunity to maintain and even improve their reading skills over the summer break - a period when many loose the gains they have made at school. For those not yet at school it is a chance to become more familiar with books and reading, and for all it is a chance to get to know their librarians and improve their interactions with others. And on top of all these benefits, it's a whole lot of fun.

The Programmes so far have been...

Sail Into Summer Reading (1997/1998)

Go Bush - Tramp Into Reading (1998/1999)

Read It! 2000 (1999/2000)

Reading Is A Picnic (2000/2001)

The Great Book Hunt (2001/2002)

Jurassic Joyride (2003/2004)

Books Ahoy! (2004/2005)

Reading Is Fantastic (2005/2006)

Don't Monkey Around - Read! (2006/2007)

Rocket Into Reading (2007/2008)

Superheroes Read (2008/2009)

Dive Into Books (2009/2010)