May 23rd, 2016

Summer Reading for Teens

girl-869213_1280You may have heard the term “summer slide,” which sounds like a pleasant family fun activity, but it actually refers to the tendency for students who don’t actively engage in educational opportunities to lose the knowledge and learning they gained during the school year.

But don’t worry, one of the easiest ways to reverse “slide” it is simply by reading throughout the summer. Our Summer Reading Program is almost here, which means we’ll be spending the next several months promoting reading and giving out prizes to those who complete a Summer Reading log. And teens have their very own program! We define “teens” as any child entering 6th – 12th grade. So if your child falls within that range, they can sign up for the Summer Reading Program, read 6 hours, and become entered into win cool prizes. And the best part, they can complete as many logs as they want throughout the summer!

We also have thousands of items available digitally, from ebooks and digital magazines to e-audiobooks, movies and music. All you need is your library card, PIN and access to the internet. While students have reading assignments during the school year – the summer can be all about what’s most interesting to them. Sports, zombies, pop stars – if your teen is reading books, magazines or graphic novels, they are engaging their minds and beating summer slide.

Did you know listening to audiobooks is a valuable reading tool? 85% of learning comes from listening and 30% of people are auditory learners. Listening to books exposes students to pronunciation of English, dialects and non-English words, expands vocabulary and can be combined with a physical book to guide struggling readers through the story. Audiobook narrators are actors who create compelling voices to make the stories come alive, thus improving attention spans.

AudiobookSYNC is a free program, available to all teens for 15 weeks, with a total of 30 teen-friendly audiobooks to download and keep. Many of the titles have curricular connections; all have high recommendations from both professional reviewers and casual audiobook listeners. You can even sign up for text alerts: text SYNCYA to 25827

Research has shown that freedom of choice in reading materials is a clear indicator in summer reading success. If your teen is picking out what she wants to read and listen to, she’s more likely to finish the books and keep reading all summer long.

Not sure what to suggest to your teen to read? Here’s a list of award-winning titles for teens, as well as a website dedicated to developing boys’ love of reading.

And our summer reading program has plenty of events for teens to hang out with other teens and explore topics from science experiments and games, to upcycling and art projects.

Our summer reading program begins June 1 – to register, go to

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May 9th, 2016

Plant Swap

PlantsIf you’re an avid gardener like me then this is your busiest time of year. It’s time to clean out your vegetable and flower beds, plan this year’s garden, and get your seeds started. When planning my garden I think about which plants worked well last year, which ones didn’t, what perennials need dividing, and where I need new plants.

One of the easiest ways to get free plants is to divide the ones you already have. One of the wonderful things about perennials is that as long as they are happy where they are they will come back year after year with very little maintenance on your part. But eventually they will get too big or start looking unkempt, and then it’s time to divide them. This will not only improve the health of the plant but give you extras you can use in your garden and share with other gardeners. I know I’d rather pass on an extra plant and give it a good home than, heaven forbid, throw it away!

But what if you’re looking for something new? One of the best, and cheapest, ways of adding diversity to your garden and trying new plants is to go to a plant swap. At a plant and seed swap gardeners bring their extra seeds, seedlings or plant divisions and trade them with other gardeners. It’s a great way to share plants and gardening experiences, and it’s free!
Whether you’re an experienced or beginner gardener you want to make the most of your garden. At CCPL we have an extensive collection of gardening books and magazines, but if you’re looking for the latest, most up-to-date information you might want to check out our collection of on-line magazines available through Zinio where you can download home and garden magazines like Birds and Blooms, Country Gardens and Organic Life. In addition, our Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture database contains magazine and journal articles for everyone from the novice gardener to the professional.

For more hands-on instruction you can find home and garden programs throughout the Cecil County Public Library system. Check online through our calendar or look in The Link, our library newsletter; available in branches, online or have it emailed to you for a first look at upcoming events.

On Thursday, May 12 from 6-8 pm the Elkton Library will hold its 4th Annual Plant Swap. And if you can’t make it to Elkton, the Perryville Library will be holding their 2nd Annual Plant and Seed Swap on Wednesday, May 25 from 6-8. We hope you can make it! This will be a wonderful opportunity to swap plants, seeds and experiences with other gardeners. Don’t miss the chance to try something new in your garden!

What’s your favorite perennial to share?

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