This year, Laramie County Library System’s Summer Reading Challenge is going virtual. This digital shift is a big one given that we have never conducted Summer Reading in this format, but, it is also a necessary one, given the current restrictions required in this new COVID-19 world. In moving the annual challenge online, we hope to encourage anyone who wants to participate by allowing them to complete the entire program from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
While some of the details have changed, the integrity of the challenge remains the same: read 25 books, days, or hours to win a prize and fight the summer slide, a detrimental loss of learning where students regress in their reading skills from the previous school year.
This year’s theme is Imagine Your Story, which seems particularly fitting for a time when imagination is more important than ever. As we weather the confinement and challenges of quarantine and social distancing, we are left to imagine the world that once existed and the world that awaits us on the other side of this global pandemic. We are left to imagine what that cancelled concert may have been like, left to imagine what our vacation to faraway places may have entailed, and left to imagine how it may have felt to spend birthdays, graduations, and holidays with loved ones.
While some of our imagining may be melancholy, thinking of the things we did not get to do, most of it can be extraordinary. From the confines of our houses, apartments, RVs, or wherever we call home, we can use stories to transport us to magical forests, enchanted mountainsides, peaceful beaches, or haunted castles. There are no safety regulations to prevent our imagination from taking us around the world, or even to worlds that exist outside our own, free from COVID-19 stress and strife. Imagination is an escape that knows no boundaries.
The Summer Reading Challenge is always important; as we said, it helps prevent the summer slide and keeps kids and adults alike motivated to cultivate their reading skills. But, this year, it seems even more critical in keeping us connected to the world we live in. While you may not be able to fly on an airplane, you can read about the way they work; while you may not be able to see your friends, you can read about the adventures of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger; while you may not be able to explore the world, you can pick up a book and immediately be transported anywhere.
So, Laramie County Library System is inviting you to read 25 books, days, or hours and Imagine Your Story, whether that story is miles away in distant, mystical lands or simply down the street. The power of imagination is limitless, and we cannot wait to hear where your stories carry you this summer.
The Summer Reading Challenge takes place June 1 to August 31. To register and find more information on the online program, click here.