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From preschool to adults, “Imagine Your Story” through the Summer Reading Club

Sunday June 7th, 2020

Michaela Paul, age 6, reads to her little brother, 3-year-old Elias.

“He loves checking in on what his big sister is doing and reading along when he’s read aloud to,” says their mother, Erica Paul. “It’s great when they can learn together and read together.”

In another family, 1-year-old Thomas Moses noticed his big brothers enjoying books and now he goes to the bookshelf at night and picks out a bedtime read.

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Dauphin County Library System’s beloved Summer Reading Club endures in 2020 and promises the joy of reading for all ages. This year adds a new element for preschoolers, and adults can read only one book to participate. As families throughout Dauphin County know, the club offers a powerful way to instill reading habits that last for life.


Some things are different about the 2020 Summer Reading Club. There was no launch party, and related programming has gone online. But as always, children and adult readers can log their times and earn rewards. The goal is to get everyone in the community reading.

“Summer is a great time to read for yourself and nobody else,” says The Library's Youth Services Coordinator Hannah Killian


This year’s Summer Reading Club, with the theme “Imagine Your Story,” runs from June 1 to August 31. Here’s how it works:

  • Register on Beanstack, the free online reading club portal.
  • Log your reading time on Beanstack as you go or download a printed log at dcls.org/src and log time as you read or in bulk.
  • Preschoolers, ages 5 and under, are challenged to read 100 books this summer as part of the Library’s new 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. One hundred books might seem like a lot, but it’s actually one book a day, and besides, everything counts. Read the same book over and over, and it counts.
  • School-aged kids, ages 5 to 12, and teens, 12 to 18, earn badges by logging time spent reading or completing activities. Eight badges or 10 hours of reading counts as completing the program. Five hours of reading earns an Explore Your Community Bag filled with tickets and coupons for free stuff for kids and teens.
  • Adults ages 18 and up can join the fun, too. Read just one book and earn a book prize. Read three books, and you’ve completed the Summer Reading Club. Prizes can be picked up through September 30.
  • Everyone who completes the Summer Reading Club earns a book to keep, plus entries into gift card drawings for kids, teens, and adults. Additional reading earns additional entries!

The Summer Reading Club helps instill a reading habit in young children and sustain it among schoolchildren.

“I feel that it’s really important when you have kids to start reading at a young level because it’s something they’ll have for the rest of their lives,” says Laura Moses.

She and her husband, Stephen, live in Linglestown and have three sons. At the end of a successful 2019 Summer Reading Club, Teddy, age 7, selected a book about sharks. Timmy, 5, chose a book about the adventurous PBS character Caillou. Together, Teddy and Timmy picked out a touch-and-feel book for their little brother, Thomas.

The home-schooling Paul family -- Michaela and Elias and their parents, Erica and Adam -- lives in Lower Paxton Township. Books, storytimes, and seasonal programs have been a staple of family life and the kids’ schooling.

The launch of the Library’s Summer Reading Club was always a highlight of the year.

“Michaela says we made a rocket ship, and we ate popcorn and watched a video of an astronaut reading a book in space,” says Erica.

The Paul family reads every day, and the summer reading club provides an opportunity to track their reading time. Through their Explore Your Community Bag, the Moses family has embarked on adventures to such area highlights as Harrisburg Senators and Hershey Bears games, and Lake Tobias Wildlife Park.

Summer reading keeps reading skills sharp, which bolsters learning for life, says Erica, a former English teacher.

“Reading is the best way to learn something, to have the kids be so excited to pick a book about a topic and hunger for more,” she says. “That’s what I enjoy so much -- the kids have an opportunity to deepen their learning and explore their interests. That’s how it brings about that love of learning.”

June First-2-Know

The above piece represents the views of the author and is meant to inspire dialogue and increase understanding and a sense of community. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of The Library. Members are welcome to comment below or contact us privately by using our online contact form >