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Library Summer Reading Programs combat summer reading loss

With the release of students from school for summer, the library offers a free Summer Reading Program at no cost to thousands of children in Josephine County.

Summer reading programs have long been acknowledged by researchers and the general public as key to the long-term academic success of students. Numerous studies have shown that reading over the summer months prevents “summer reading loss,” which can have a cumulative effect. Studies show that by the end of 6th grade, children who lose reading skills over the summer are two years behind their classmates. Decades of research indicate that a child’s reading level in 3rd grade is directly related to their ability to thrive later in school and life. Yet according to the Oregon Department of Education’s most recent state report card, as of 2022, 44 percent of Oregonian 4th graders were below the basic proficiency level for reading.

“One of the most important things a library does is offer children’s reading programs, especially in the summer,” said Library Director Kate Lasky. “It isn’t too late to join the Summer Reading Program. We encourage any household with school-age children to participate in the reading challenges, events, and raffles this year.”

The 2023 Summer Reading Program theme is “Find Your Voice,” sponsored by the State Library of Oregon. Each registered participant can log their reading in the Summer Reading Program activity booklet or online through the Summer Reading Program portal. For each hour read, they get one entry into a raffle for a gift certificate to either Oregon Books & Games or Iguana Comics.

Weekly themed crafts and activities for children and teens take place at each branch in Grants Pass, Illinois Valley, Williams, and Wolf Creek from 1–4pm each open day. The following events are part of the Summer Reading Program and are open to the public:

  • Pop-Up Storybook Walk
    During the month of July, find the Pop-Up Storybook Walk featured at different locations in Grants Pass, Illinois Valley, Williams, and Wolf Creek.
  • Teen summer book club
    Grants Pass and Williams branches | Friday, August 4 | 1–2:30 pm
    Teens are invited to join the summer book club featuring Set in Stone, the first book in The Petralist series from local author Frank Morin. During the last week of the program, meet with other book club members to discuss the book. Participants can check the book out using a library card or pick up a copy to keep at their preferred branch.
  • Everyday Civics for Youth
    Grants Pass branch | Wednesday, July 12 | 4–5:30 pm
  • V is for Voting Storytime
    Grants Pass branch | Thursday, July 13 | 11:30 am–12:30 pm
  • History of Grants Pass BearFest
    Grants Pass | Saturday, July 22 | 1–2:30 pm
    Join local artist Bob Eding to learn about the history of the Grants Pass public art installation known as “BearFest.”
  • Bugs-R-Us Reptiles & Amphibians
    Grants Pass branch | Tuesday, July 25 | 10:30–11:30 am
    Grants Pass branch | Tuesday, July 25 | 1–2 pm
    Williams branch | Wednesday, July 26 | 1:30–2:30 pm
    Illinois Valley branch | Thursday, July 27 | 11:30 am–12:30 pm
    Wolf Creek branch | Friday, July 28 | 12:30–1:30 pm
    Learn about life cycles and explore the role that reptiles and amphibians play in the environment. Children and families will also have a chance to meet live animals including a box turtle, bearded dragon lizard, and various frogs.
  • All ages story hour
    Grants Pass branch | Saturday, August 5 | 11 am–12 pm
    Williams branch | Saturday, August 5 | 2–3 pm
    Community members of all ages are invited to hear local storyteller Georgia Churchill.

The Summer Reading Program and related events are offered at no cost to participants. A library card is not needed to take part. To get a physical library card, community members can visit their preferred branch in Grants Pass, Illinois Valley, Williams, or Wolf Creek during open hours. Annual library card sponsorship for children and adults who live in Josephine County, but do not live within the library district boundary are available thanks to funding from Josephine Community Library Foundation.

For more information about the 2023 Summer Reading Program and related events, visit, email, or call 541-476-0571.