Today officially marks the first day of summer, though Nate has been out of school for two weeks now. For us, today means more kids for him to play with on our street, but mostly, today means the start of the library reading program.
I took him to our local branch today. There were kids everywhere, playing with puzzles, reading books, talking. The library isn't a quiet place in the summer. He ran to the kids' program table to get the coupons of the week (laser tag! ice cream!) and then went looking for more Magic Treehouse books.
I remember doing the same thing, nearly 20 years ago. Our local branch was home to latchkey kids during the summer and it too wasn't quiet. My siblings and I were eager to get our paper forms each summer and to fill them out, squeezing the title and author onto lines much too short. We were competitive, mostly with each other. The library's prizes were easily within our reach, but we read on, determined to out list each other. I'm not sure how my mother kept all the paper forms from getting lost. I don't remember any of the prizes.
The reading logs now are mostly electronic now. The prizes are hokey - a cup, a tote bag. Nate loves to write his name on some paper animal and put it on the WINNING READERS wall. Look, he'll say, my name is right there.
And so it is.