Published on: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 News

Let the Quest Begin

This year’s SummerQuest – our unique summer reading adventure game – will kick off on Monday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m., and we hope you will join us!

While many other library systems in Maryland and elsewhere use the summer reading program created each year by

national library collaborative, our Library as opted instead to tap Library Associate Dave Burbank’s artistic and storytelling talents and offer patrons a totally one-of a-kind reading program. The result is a unique reading adventure each year.

Young readers particularly like the interactive nature of our Summer-Quest program. To participate in Summer-Quest, readers first choose a character from one of the dozens Dave has drawn through the years. Veteran Summer-Quest participants know that while the characters are all different, they all have one thing in common: They are rabbits. Dave has always loved trickster characters, especially rabbits, and so even if he is drawing a basketball player or a ninja, it will be some kind of bunny.

Once readers choose a character, they then color it (if they want) and give it a name. Each character has a large version and a small version; when readers hand Library staff their characters, we keep the large character and hand the smaller one back. Why do we do this? We use the large characters to track readers’ progress on the big Summer-Quest game board in the Children’s Room, moving their characters each time they complete a reading challenge. Meanwhile, kids can use the smaller version of their characters to track their own progress on a take-home game board they receive after signing up for Summer-Quest.

Along with that take-home Summer-Quest game board, readers receive a copy of the story, which contains 10 different reading challenges. Kids complete the challenges by reading specific types of books. For example, they may be asked to read an award-winning book or a book about someone who is different than them. A favorite challenge is one that asks kids to read a book that shows them how to make or do something (e.g. a cookbook or a craft book) and then make or do it.

Because studies show that letting kids choose their own reading is a key way to motivate them to read, our Summer-Quest reading challenges are deliberately open-ended. We suggest a type of book, but it’s up to readers to choose the book. Choice really becomes paramount in Summer-Quest when kids get to reading challenge 9, in which they are urged to read as many books as they want. We’ve had some kids read more than 100 books in a summer!

Through the years, we’ve added a couple of new elements to SummerQuest. First, we’ve urged parents to join their kids in doing SummerQuest. Parents can use the 10 reading challenges as a way to broaden their own reading of adult books or just join their kids in reading children’s and teen books. Last summer, one parent used the SummerQuest challenges as a way to explore our teen book section, so she could learn more about the books her soon-to-be teens would be reading.

In addition, we’ve created 10 reading challenges and related activities most appropriate for parents to do with very

young children. These challenges include reading an alphabet book and then singing the alphabet or reading a picture book and acting it out with your child. As you can see, SummerQuest is an allages program! Please mark your calendars for our June 10 kick-off to make 2019 a summer full of great reading.

If you can’t make the June 10 kick-off, don’t worry! You can register for Summer-Quest any time during the summer.

This article appeared in the June 2019 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.