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Reading program popular at library
Caden, 6, and sister Breena Pittendrigh, 9, are participating in the Summer Reading Fun program at the Forsyth County Public Library. - photo by Alyssa LaRenzie

On the Net

For more information on summer reading, visit

Caden Pittendrigh beelined to the information desk at the Cumming library as soon as he entered the branch with his family.

“Do you have any Sonic books?” the 6-year-old asked the librarian.

He’s been flying through graphic novels this summer as he works toward his goal in the Forsyth County Public Library’s summer reading program.

People who register for Summer Reading Fun set a goal for a number of books to finish before Aug. 24. Those who reach the total receive a free book, courtesy of the library’s Friends and Advocates group.

Summer reading has been especially popular this year, as more than 4,000 have signed up, said Laura Bradley, the library’s program manager.

“We’re at about a 40 percent increase from this time last year,” she said. “The youth services librarians really worked hard to get the word out into the schools, so I think that’s really making a difference.”

Bradley said the reading program provides a lot of benefits for students, especially with keeping up in school.

“It helps with a potential summer slip,” she said. “Numerous studies have shown that if kids are reading during the summer, they won’t get behind in school when they return in the fall.”

Students have an extra incentive this summer, as the Atlanta Braves announced a new statewide reading program this week.

The “Home Run Readers” offers a free ticket to one select Braves game for students who read one book about sports or good sportsmanship.

Family or friends accompanying the student can buy $7 discounted tickets to the games, which are on July 29, Aug. 1 and Aug. 11.

The local library system has information on the program and a display of suggested baseball reading at its Cumming branch.

Bradley said the free ticket incentive has drawn plenty of interest in the children’s sections at all three branches.

She hopes students will read more than one book this summer, though, and added that many have met their book goals in the library’s program.

“We have had some kids who were very eager to get their prizes,” Bradley said.

Those prize books range from board books for babies up to some of the most popular series for young adults, she said.

The library also has a summer reading program for adults. Those who meet their goals will be entered in a drawing to win a Sony eReader.

The Pittendrigh family enjoys reading, but the kids get more excited when they have an incentive for finishing books, said mother Gretchen.

Aside from Caden, her 9- and 13-year-old daughters are each working toward a goal of 25 books this summer, which includes weekly trips to check out new material.

“I love coming to the library,” said Caden Pittendrigh, looking up from his latest Sonic novel.