The Metropolitan Library System Summer Reading program has seen the highest participation figures on record and there are still several days until the end of the program.

To date, over 28,000 readers have signed up to participate in the annual Summer Reading program. Together, these readers have logged a total of 16.8 million minutes, averaging over 9 hours logged per reader.

Those participating in the program are reading more and logging more hours than last year. With two weeks to go, many libraries have more readers reaching their 10-hour reading goal compared to last year.

The Children’s Reading Program (for ages 6-12) continues to have the highest participation, accounting for 41 percent of readers, followed by the Adult Program at 31 percent of all readers. The Early Childhood Reading Program (for ages 0-5) had the highest increase in participation, surpassing last year’s total participation by 12 percent.

Children, teens and adults have the opportunity to earn prizes while they read for fun and promote the importance of reading in our communities. Participants can earn digital badges, fine waivers, books, and adult readers can receive a tote bag and keychain flashlight. There will also be prize drawings for Kindle Fires, iPads, and Chromebooks for qualified readers. In addition to earning prizes for minutes spent reading, participants can also earn points for completing reading-based activities.

Participants may back-date minutes of reading time as far back as June 1. Minutes must be logged by the conclusion of the program, July 31. Prizes must be picked up by Aug. 15. Fine waivers are valid through Dec. 31.

Participants can also select to donate their fine waivers and prize books to someone in need. This year the summer reading, Read it Forward program, will donate books to local non- profit organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, Sanctuary Women’s Development Center and Palomar Oklahoma City. All Summer Reading book prizes are sponsored by the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System.

Studies show that on average students lose approximately two months of reading achievement if they do not continue to read and learn during the summer, causing lower scores on standardized tests. These months of learning loss accumulate, causing students to lose as much as two years’ worth of reading achievement by sixth grade.