CLOVER — Macy Hamacher spends four to five hours each day reading books just for fun. Sometimes the 14-year-old even wakes up early so she has time to read before school.
“Reading is a fun thing,” said Macy, a rising ninth-grader at Clover High School who started reading when she was 3. “I really wanted to learn, so I taught myself to read with the help of my parents.”
Macy has been a past grand prize winner in the York County Library’s summer reading program at the Clover Public Library. She loved the challenges of reading and doing related activities each day.
The annual summer reading program began last week at all York County library branches. Library officials said between 200 to 300 children typically participate at the Clover library and some 500 in York.
Terry Cobb, manager of the Clover library, said the reading program that once primarily targeted elementary school-age children has been expanded to activities for all ages — from birth to adults.
“We’ve seen over the years that it’s important for the children to see that their parents and their grandparents read,” Cobb said. “It’s not just school, it’s not just reading. It’s a learning experience.”
The four separate summer reading programs are: “Tiny Tots,” for children ages 3 and younger and a parent; “Dig into Reading” for ages 3-12; “Beneath the Surface” for rising sixth- to 12th-graders; and “Groundbreaking Reads” for adults.
Adults can participate in book discussions offered at the libraries, and infants and preschool children can read with a parent or be read to and participate in reading-related activities. Prizes and incentives are offered at each level to participants who complete the reading program.
All the libraries also offer performances and special programs that tie into and encourage reading, she said. “It’s a really good inspiration for them to read,” Cobb said.
Jennifer Stanley, a youth services librarian at the York Public Library, said the reading program helps children retain and sometimes improve literacy skills that they develop during the school year.
“It’s a bridge from one school year to the next,” she said.
Stanley also noted that fulfilling the reading requirements doesn’t require reading a library book. “It can be reading a magazine, a newspaper. Some kids do not like fiction titles, they only like nonfiction. It’s wherever they find a comfortable niche in where they like to read.”
Stanley encourages children to explore different types of books.
“We always tell them to at least read a chapter and see how they like it,” Stanley said. “And we tell them to get multiple books that are completely different, until they find their genre or the subject they enjoy, we like for them to get a variety of books so they can find what they like.”
Macy, the daughter of Diane and Randall Hamacher, said she enjoys reading science fiction and books about the paranormal. Mom Diane said Macy’s thinking about a future career working for a publishing company.
Despite the prevalence of video games and other forms of electronic entertainment among children and youths, Macy said she doesn’t believe that reading is going out of style.
“It’s going to be around forever,” she said.