Tauranga Libraries' summer reading programmes have been a huge success, with a record number of enrolments this summer.
More than 1000 children and teens signed up for ‘Wild About Reading', catering for children aged 5-10 years and ‘Teen Mean Reads' for those aged 11-18.
The programmes involved young people reading and completing challenges by going into the city's libraries and sharing their reading with library staff.
“One of the highlights has been reading to a dog for children who are extra shy or need encouragement,” says Joanna Thomas, manager of libraries for Tauranga City Council.
“This really seems to work, with one little girl even writing her own book to bring to the Papamoa Library and share with the dog.”
Teens wrote reviews of their library books and received free books to keep.
Michelle Anderson, children and teens team leader, says one student completed her last year of ‘Teen Mean Reads' by proudly telling her she was off to university after visiting the library every summer.
Michelle says while school holidays are about relaxing and having fun, Tauranga Libraries wanted reading to be part of that fun.
“Reading is like jogging,” she says. “When you do it regularly you get more competent and confident.
“If kids reduce their reading mileage over the holidays they often return to school with lower reading levels than when they left.
“So our programmes give kids incentives and encouragement to keep up their reading.”
The reading programmes culminated this week with a finale party for the teens where the red carpet was rolled out at Tauranga Library for a glamorous night of film-themed fun, and a scavenger hunt for the younger children at Memorial Park where they also received a book to keep and a certificate of participation.
Tauranga Libraries also ran an adult summer reading programme where participants completed four fun reading challenges to go in the draw for a summer food hamper.