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Library courts young readers
Read WEB 1
Gabe Alen reads Thursday at the Cumming library. The Forsyth County Public Library is holding a summer challenge to get children involved in reading. - photo by Autumn Vetter


For more information on the Forsyth County Public Library’s summer reading incentives or the free Summer Showcase go to, or contact Vanessa Cowie at

The Forsyth County Public Library is holding a summer challenge in hopes of getting children involved in enjoyable reading.

The “Dream Big: Read” program gives students a chance to get involved with the library and read books that engage them.

Vanessa Cowie, the library’s youth services coordinator, said officials want to encourage children and teenagers to read for their own enjoyment.

“That’s our goal,” she said. “And research shows that learning happens at the same time. What a wonderful bonus.”

According to Cowie, about 3,000 children participated in the incentive program in 2011. Library staff hopes about 10,000 sign up this year.

Retaining language information over the summer is another goal of the library’s reading challenge.

Cowie cited a 2010 study by Dominican University that found students who participate in programs such as this kept up reading skills and often increased them.

The theme for the middle- and high-schoolers is “Own the Night.” Adults are welcome to join in as well.

Children who are too young to read are also welcome. Their parents, grandparents and caregivers can read the books to them.

Recordings of some books will also be played aloud through library programs.

Each child will set individual goals to encourage their summer reading.

Those who meet their goals will get a prize: the choice of a book from a variety of titles funded by the Forsyth County Public Library Friends & Advocates.

Registration, which is required, will continue through July 31 at Those people who achieve their reading goals will have until Aug. 24 to claim their prizes.

The library branches are also holding a free Summer Showcase.

The program, which focuses on children in kindergarten through fifth grade, will showcase professional storytellers, musicians, puppeteers and magicians.

The Summer Showcase lineup began Saturday with “The Puppet Guy” Lee Bryan, who presented “The Giant, the Beanstalk, and Jack” at the Cumming Library.

Other people will be performing at various libraries throughout the summer.