Kids ‘go wild’ for summer reading at Arlington Library

Kaitlyn Bevens shows off Coco the orangutan, the Folkmanis puppet she won through the Arlington Library’s summer reading program. - Courtesy Photo
Kaitlyn Bevens shows off Coco the orangutan, the Folkmanis puppet she won through the Arlington Library’s summer reading program.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

ARLINGTON — Arlington Library patron Kaitlyn Bevens got to “go ape” as part of the children’s summer reading program this year.

For the past three years, the Arlington Library has conducted a “Name the Critter” contest as part of its summer reading program for kids, who get to enter names for that year’s Folkmanis animal puppet. Bevens won both the contest and a new furry friend when she chose “Coco” as the name for this year’s orangutan puppet, which she got to take home.

“In 2009 and 2010, in order to celebrate our new kids’ website, every Sno-Isle library participated in a district-wide contest featuring an otter and an octopus, respectively,” said Lesla Ojeda, the children’s librarian for the Arlington Library. “This year, libraries that wanted to hold the contest had the opportunity to choose their own critters. I guess I was subconsciously continuing an ‘O’ theme.”

The theme for this year’s Sno-Isle summer reading program was “One World, Many Stories.” The goal of each year’s summer reading program is to keep children’s reading skills up during the summer.

“Studies have shown that reading as few as five books can help prevent summer learning loss,” Ojeda said. “Across the library district, we challenged each child to read 10 books over the summer. Every child who read 10 books earned their own book, courtesy of the Friends of the Arlington Library, to keep as a prize.”

To further encourage young readers to keep on reading through the summer, each additional 10 books they read earned them an entry in the drawing for Arlington’s grand prizes; a life-sized “READ” poster featuring the winner, and “a cookie as big as their head,” according to Ojeda, who has chosen a winner in this year’s contest, but has yet to contact their family.

Sno-Isle has also partnered with the Everett Aquasox, who sponsor their “First Pitch” contest, complete with free Aquasox baseball tickets for families.

“Kids started picking up their passport reading logs either at their library or on the Sno-Isle website beginning June 1,” Ojeda said. “Since then, we’ve had around 380 children sign up and about 150 meet their 10-book goal. By my count, Arlington kids have read 2,690 books so far this summer. We initially estimated that about 20 percent of our kids might finish, so to have almost twice that number is really fantastic.”


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