Murrieta Library’s teen summer program raises reading levels and funds for animals

The Murrieta Library is currently offering Read for a Reason, a novel summer program for teens to improve their reading skills while they earn funds for Animal Friends of the Valleys.

This is the second summer that the six-week program is being offered. Last year over 150 teens participated and raised $1,000 for AFV, according to Teen Services Librarian Joyce Lea Brown. The program started on June 16.

Brown said that teens can read any book over 100 pages at their level or adult fiction or non-fiction. They earn one cent for each page they read so if they read a 300-page-book, they can earn $3 for AFV. This year’s goal is $1,200.

When teens finish a book they have to fill out a reading card. If they wish, they can write short comments or a review about the book on the card before turning it in at the library’s Adult Information Desk. The reading cards will be entered in drawings for prizes such as books, CDs and store and restaurant gift certificates. The drawings and a finale party will be held at the library on July 24 at 2 p.m. All reading cards have to be turned in by

July 19.

“We had several teens in the library on the first day of the program and I asked them if they wanted to participate in the program,” Brown commented. “They said yes and were enthusiastic about it.”

Brown ran an altruistic teen reading program for two years at the Oceanside Public Library before coming to the Murrieta Library in 2007.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do since I got here,” she said. “The main thing I like about this altruistic program is that the kids are giving back to their community while earning rewards and points for the summer reading program. They’re just not reading for themselves to get prizes.”

Money raised by the program will help AFV provide emergency medical services and food for rescued animals.

Brown said that difficulty finding a corporate sponsor prevented the library from offering the program before 2013.

At a spring 2013 Friends of the Murrieta Library (Friends) meeting, Brown addressed the group and said she wanted to add an altruistic element to the teen summer reading program.

“I asked the Friends group if they knew of possible sponsors,” she said.

Though the Friends thought it was a great idea, they had difficulty helping Brown find a sponsor. Friends’ treasurer Carol Carson wanted to see the program happen so she generously offered to fund it up to $1,000.

“When we had a sponsor, I contacted AFV and asked if they’d like teen readers to read for a reason and provide funds for AFV,” Brown said. “They were happy to receive the funding and it went

forward.”

Last summer teens in the program read over $950 worth of pages and one teen did $95 worth of reading. The teens were so close to the goal that Carson went ahead and donated the $1,000.

This year’s sponsor is Laurie Blanscet, a Murrieta family medicine doctor and an acquaintance of Brown. Brown asked her to sponsor the program and she didn’t hesitate to say yes. She loves animals and is donating up to

$1,200.

Brown, a Murrieta resident and animal lover too, wants teen readers in the program to meet the goal.

“I’m hoping for more this year,” she said. “I’d really like for more teens to be reading with us this summer.”

For more information on the program, call the library at (951) 304-2665.

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