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It's summertime. Whether you're at home relaxing in the AC, on vacation at the beach or at the pool — don't forget a good book. And make sure each of your children has one as well.

For children, reading is essential for their academic growth. You've probably heard of the summer "brain drain" or "summer slide." They're terms often used by educators to describe the learning loss that takes place for students during the summer.

That break from structured learning in the classroom makes it easy for students to forget what they've learned over the school year.

Reading is one way to combat that. For struggling students, it's also a way to close the gap between them and successful students.

The News Tribune offers another reading option for youths: Each Wednesday, we publish the Kids Scoop page in the paper.

Reading also enriches the lives of adults. It's a way to gain knowledge — and even intelligence — while improving cognition and possibly slowing the onset of dementia.

One way to challenge you and your children to read over the summer is to participate in the Missouri River Regional Library's summer reading program. The "Tails and Tales" program offers programs for four different age groups: 4 and younger, 5-12, teen and adult.

To register, go to You can also check your progress there. Participants can earn prizes throughout the summer.

As we reported last week, the preschool Tails and Tales (ages 4 and younger) may earn prize bags of reading program-themed items and two free books of their choice from a collection in the library's children's department. Program finishers will enter a raffle for a chance to win one of several age-appropriate prizes.

Children's Tails and Tales (ages 5-12) must complete 20 hours of reading and seven missions over the course of the summer to win a prize bag of reading program-themed items, two free books and their choice from a collection in the children's department. Finishers will enter a raffle for a chance to win one of several age-appropriate prizes.

The Teen Summer Reading Program offers a free book of the reader's choice (from a prize cart) for each 10 hours of reading the teen completes. They will also be entered once in a prize drawing — a chance to win one of five $50 Amazon gift cards.

The Adult Summer Reading Program requires the reader to read or listen to four books to earn a free book. Completion of four more books earns the reader another free book, and enters the adult in a prize drawing. (Reading with your family for three hours counts as one title. You may read with your family for a total of six hours, which counts as two books.) Drawing prizes include local gift certificates.

So have fun this summer, but — regardless of whether you participate in MRRL's summer reading program — make time to stimulate your mind with good books.

News Tribune

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