Summer Reading: An Ocean of Possibilities

June 1st, 2022 – Kayla Thompson, Adult Services & Sharon Anderson, Youth Services


On your mark, get set, read! Today is the beginning of Cape Girardeau Public Library’s Summer Reading program: Oceans of Possibilities! It’s one of my favorite times to be a part of the library, and it’s when I personally do most of my reading for the year. But why does so much reading get done? Is it the theme? Is it the excitement of reaching a goal? Prizes? Or the sense of community we get as we encourage each other to read and try new things? For me, it’s a bit of everything.

Why is it important? Can’t we read any time? The easy answer is that summer reading is the time of the year specifically when you get to read what you want, when you want, and where you want for fun and enjoyment. It’s a positive experience for all ages!

Benefits of reading for adults:
*Reading can strengthen your brain and reduce mental decline in old age by about 32%
*Reading builds vocabulary. Communication skills are what 69% of employers look for.
*Reading 30 minutes daily can reduce stress, and lower BP and psychological distress.
*Reading supports self-improvement

Not into more traditional reading routes? Audiobooks are a fantastic way to increase reading. I listen to them in my car as I run errands. Graphic novels and comics are another fun way to introduce more reading. The stories are often complex and full of robust characters, and the images add to the context and understanding of the story. And reading poetry can introduce new ideas in smaller doses of easy-to-read text. 

Summer reading is about more than just books. It’s about community and bringing people into our library to discover the resources we have to offer. Programs for adults include (but are not limited to):

June 7th – Books on Tap: Oceans of Possibilities
June 15th – Centennial Open House
June 16th – Hot Takes (and Teas): Mississippi River Conservation
July 9th – Saturday Crafternoon – Ocean-Themed Nail-and-String Art
July 15th – Under the Sea Trivia Night

Click here for more great adult events happening this summer!


This will be my 22nd summer reading program and it’s still one of my favorite times of the year. It’s a time to read books, earn prizes, have fun, and so much more. Summer Reading kicks off with a Scholastic Book Fair on M

ay 31st through June 4th, and proceeds will be used to purchase books and prizes that will be given to Summer Reading Club participants. 

The importance of summer reading for our youth:

The benefits of summer reading start as early as birth. Reading with little ones helps build the foundation for a lifelong love of reading. The more positive experiences that children have around books, the more likely they are to grow up to become readers and learners. Reading builds their imaginations, expands their knowledge of the world, and aids in language development. Doing this together is a great bonding experience. For our littlest library users, the library offers early literacy events such as weekly storytimes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and virtual storytimes for families. We also have hands-on STEAM learning experiences such as the Day at the Beach programs for preschoolers on June 11 and July 18, and a family dance party with national award-winning musical artist Jim Gill on Friday, July 8 at 6:00 p.m.

For elementary ages, summer reading helps maintain learning and prevent summer slide–the term educators use to describe the decline in reading ability and other academic skills that occurs when school isn’t in session. Reading is a learned skill and needs to be practiced in order to maintain proficiency. This is important for all children but especially so for struggling readers. One of the best ways to support literacy during the summer is to provide kids with a learning-rich environment and opportunities to read for fun–the very things libraries do best.

For emerging readers and struggling readers (grades K-4), the library offers one-on-one reading help through United Way’s Read to Succeed tutoring program. Email Robin Koetting at to schedule tutoring sessions at the library.

For children ages 6-8 and 9-11, the library also offers a variety of STEAM programs and events, including art programs with Cristy Crites, in-person and virtual science programs with science teacher Becky Hicks, and nutrition-based programs with Ann Knight and the University of MO Home Extension.

For teens, summer reading at the library provides opportunities to have fun, learn, and socialize with other teens. It gives them access to information and opportunities to read, explore, and build critical thinking skills. Part of our mission is to empower teens, preparing them to participate in a society that values knowledge and the ability to find, analyze, and use information. For teens, the library has scheduled weekly gaga ball sessions, a monthly anime club, and assorted creative art and learning opportunities throughout June and July.

Family-friendly events include ocean-themed trivia, family game nights, and a Bermuda Triangle Escape Room

Summer reading also helps support social-emotional learning. Reading fiction helps develop empathy and compassion as we see ourselves and others in the stories we read. And both fiction and nonfiction provide insight and understanding about the world. Every child who participates will receive a free book to add to their home library. There will be opportunities to earn weekly prizes through special drawings each week during June and July, as well. 

Registration is required for many of our programs and special events. For more information, check out our calendar

Summer Reading at the Cape Girardeau Public Library is made possible by an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant administered by the Missouri State Library. Additional funding was provided by the Friends of the Cape Girardeau Public Library Foundation.

Cape Girardeau Public Library

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