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Schools, library launch summer reading programs
Prizes given to high-achieving readers
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The school doors are closed, the yellow school busses are parked, and children and teachers alike collectively breathe a sigh of relaxation. But wait there's one more thing. The end of school also marks the beginning of summer reading programs.

Rockdale County Public Schools' middle and high schools announced the Summer Reading List for 2009. Students entering any grade in middle or high school in July 2009 will be required to read one book over the summer. Research suggests that students need to read widely over the summer to maintain their reading skills. Students who do not read during the summer months tend to lose academic ground.

RCPS Language Arts Coordinator Mary Grecko said, in a letter sent home to parents, "We believe that maintaining high expectations is essential for helping our students remain competitive in the academic and career arenas."

The students are requested to read specific books based on grade level and will be assessed on these reading assignments during the first two weeks of the 2009-2010 school year in their language arts class.

To see the reading list, log on to and select the school to retrieve the list for your grade level.

The Nancy Guinn Library also has a Summer Program and the two programs serve to compliment each other and reinforce the importance of reading. The Summer Reading List books can be included in the library's summer program.

The library's reading program is somewhat more flexible because participants are able to choose their reading materials from different types of mediums, such as audio books and comic books. For the little ones, being read to is also counted.

To participate in the library reading program, readers must register at the library. Students are then given a sheet to log the books and hours spent reading. Once the required hours have been accumulated, there is a prize to reward students for their taking the time to read and to keep reading fun. The prizes have all been donated by local businesses in the community. Grand prizes this year are tickets to Zoo Atlanta and Chuck E. Cheese for the younger children and tickets to Zoo Atlanta and World of Coke for the teens.

The summer program at the library has three components, according to Laura Knowlton, head of Youth Services for the Nancy Guinn Library. These three components include the reading program, creativity workshops - which are divided in two groups for children who are in preschool to the ‘tween years and the other for teens - and the third segment is the Thursday performances called "Thrilling Thursdays" where performers come to entertain the children while building on the theme of creativity.

"We do all we can at the library to ensure that reading is enjoyable for the children, and that's why we have the different formats," said Knowlton.