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“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one,” wrote author George R.R. Martin.

Many bibliophiles can relate to this sentiment; reading a good book can be like being transported into the lives and experiences of the characters. And there’s another reason to read, especially for young people on summer vacation.

“Children who don’t read over the summer can lose two to three months of reading skills from the previous school year, whereas children who do read over the summer tend to be better readers when school starts up again,” said Adrea Lund, head of Children and Teen Services at the Grand County Public Library.

And, Lund said, it’s not too late to register and participate in Grand County Public Library’s 2020 online summer reading challenge, which is for both children and adults.

The 2020 summer reading program has enjoyed great success so far. A community reading goal of 225,000 minutes was met on July 27; the new community reading goal is to read 300,000 before Aug. 17.

Not only does participating in the challenge help prevent learning loss, Lund said, it is also “super fun.”

The library offers a summer reading program every year. This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story,” and the program has been adapted for social distancing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Readers track their progress online at the Beanstack summer challenge website or by downloading the Beanstack Tracker app (found at grandcountyutah.beanstack.org).

Once someone is registered they can log any reading they have completed since June 1. The last day to log reading and complete activities is Aug. 16.

The challenge includes time spent reading e-books, graphic novels, comics and magazines, and listening to audio books. Readers can count time they were reading to someone else, or being read to. There are also Imagine Your Story activities that count towards the challenge.

There are separate challenges for babies and toddlers, children ages 3-12, teens, and adults. Children who sign up will receive a coupon for a free 12-ounce drink with one flavor shot from Lop’s Pop Stop. Teens and adults may receive a Read Like a Local bandana and sticker.

Babies and Toddlers earn rewards like free picture books and bath toys, while children ages 3 and up get prizes like glitter wands, foam swords, and a coupon for a Moab Brewery gelato. Teens who complete the challenge will receive coupons for a free drink at Lop’s Pop Stop and a free gelato at Moab Brewery. Adult prizes include gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses.

All coupons and reading rewards will be available via curbside pickup at the library; registration and reading rewards are available while supplies last.

The Grand County Public Library, located at 257 E. Center St., is currently offering curbside pickup for materials reserved by card holders online from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. The library is open for limited in-person use from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For more information, call the library at 435-259-1111, visit grandcountyutah.net/286/Library, or see the Grand County Public Library’s Facebook page.

Library summer program is smashing reading goals

“Children who do read over the summer tend to be better readers when school starts up again.”

– Adrea Lund

When: ongoing until Aug. 16

More info: 435-259-1111; grandcountyutah.net/1072/Summer-Challenge; Grand County Public Library Facebook page