As children sat in the cafeteria of the Graham branch of NCTC, legs crossed and eager to hear their name called for the chance to win a prize during the Library of Graham's Summer Reading Program finale, they likely weren't thinking about how beneficial programs such as these are to increasing literacy and developing a life-long love of the written word. 

Though all 252 of them were living proof.

The privately funded Graham program has reached its end Wednesday, July 31, and this summer it registered the most readers in its more than 20 year history. 

And in turn, those readers read for a combined 2,898 hours — 275 more than last year.

Program participants read books and logged the number of hours they read, and a child receives six “book bucks” for every two hours read on top of their choice of a free paperback book.

“We tell them the more they read, the more prizes they win,” she said. “I think it promotes children to read more because the programs are just nice. The incentive of the book buck and prizes get a lot of them to read where otherwise they would not have read as much without it.”

The top three readers, who each received a $30 Walmart gift card, were Laura Chapman, Rylee McChristian, and Chirag (Flash) Basnet who read for 120, 118 and 116 hours, respectively. Names of more readers were drawn at random for a chance to win books, movies and many other prizes and coupons from local businesses.

But the program wasn't just about creating a rewards system to promote reading. It also hosted mind-expanding educational presentations throughout the summer.

Throughout the summer months, participating children were privy to shows featuring exotic animals in the flesh, amazing science exhibits, interactive drum sessions and even prehistoric archaeology.  


Read more in Wednesday's Graham Leader.