Since June 15, the children's section has been transformed into an elaborate set filled with dinosaurs, cave paintings and fossils, relating to the program's theme this year, "Prehistoric Pleasanton."
At stations located around the set, readers can learn about the Ice Age, early man and ancient oceans as well as sign up for the reading incentive game, the main focus of the program. In the game, readers earn prizes for every ten hours they read as they move around a prehistoric-themed game board.
"We have determined that we want our game to be about learning that reading is fun, so we don't tie it to book reports; we don't want it to feel like school. We tell them they can read absolutely anything they want -- it's just pure enjoyment," said Sandy Silva, the head of the children's section.
Though the game is certainly about enjoyment, with prizes such as coupons for Cafe Art and Round Table Pizza, notebooks and brand-new books, it is also a way for its estimated 4,000 participants to keep their minds fresh over the summer.
"The whole concept of the Summer Reading Game is really critical in terms of helping children maintain the skills that they have achieved the previous school year, because they've done numerous studies that when children don't read, they regress, so they spend the first part of the school year having to reintroduce and rebuild those skills," said Silva.
Helping run the program are Kid Power volunteers, kids entering grades six through nine who have been trained to help other children sign up for the game, explain the game, run the scavenger hunt and issue prizes. The small library staff would be unable to run the program without them, according to Silva.
"It's really fun to do this, and kids are really happy because you give them prizes," said Kid Power volunteer Anushka Parihar, 14.
The program will continue until Aug. 4, beginning at 10 a.m. each day. For more information, visit the library, 400 Old Bernal Ave., call the Children's Desk at 931-3400, or find information at www.ci.pleasanton.ca.us.
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