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Hot Diggity Dog! Summer Reading at the Library is Back for 2021 with “Tails and Tales”

Hot Diggity Dog! Summer Reading at the Library is Back for 2021 with “Tails and Tales”

families attending an outdoor storytime with the library in a Huntsville park

The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library is excited to announce their 2021 summer reading program, “Tails and Tales” to families at all ten branches in Madison County. This summer’s programs and events will be held mostly outdoors to follow Covid-19 protocols. Beginning June 1 and going through July 16, parents and kids can start tracking the books they’ll read over the summer and even win some awesome prizes! The best part? You don’t have to worry about reading levels or testing – summer is all about reading for the fun of it!

“Our summer program has been a staple in the community for many years, drawing thousands of children to participate. While certain changes proved necessary this summer, the library staff is committed to continuing the tradition of bringing engaging and creative literacy enrichment to our community,” said Cindy Hewitt, Interim Executive Director of HMCPL.

families listening to stories sitting on a blanket outdoors at the library
Outdoor storytimes are all the rage in Huntsville this summer!

How Does the Summer Reading Program Work?

It’s easy! Parents are encouraged to set a summer reading goal with their children and tracking their progress. Submit summer reading book trackers by filling out an online form for each book, or turning in a paper form at your local branch. Think of ways to make it fun – compete with each other or create a colorful chart with your kids to help them keep track of their books. For every book form you submit, you are automatically entered to win a prize! So, the more submissions, the better your chances of winning.

But what about the crafts? Each week, the library will offer a free take and make craft, as well as a grab bag of books they can pick up curbside or browse their favorites inside their neighborhood library branch.

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a closeup of the huntsville public library bookmobile
Look for the Bookmobile in your county neighborhood!

The Library’s Bookmobile has partnered with local organizations to extend the Library’s reach in the county. The Bookmobile will be visiting schools through the SAIL (Summer Adventures in Learning) program, local YMCAs and other locations during the summer so children have access to books and activities.

The awesome Youth Services librarians have even compiled a list of all the required summer reading books for each local school district within Madison County! You can look up your school, find your child’s grade, and even put the book on hold all online.

For Teens Only…

Sadly, HMCPL wasn’t able to start back their popular Teen Volunteer Program this year due to Covid-19. However, there’s a solution! Teens can submit book reviews online and each review will count as 1 hour volunteer time with HMCPL. At the end of summer, if teens would like to claim their hours, just contact to verify eligible submissions. It’s a great way to accrue some community volunteer hours for school service clubs!

This Summer Slide is NOT the Fun Kind

Studies show that lack of access to reading materials over the summer months when children are not in school can have a serious, detrimental effect on learning retention. Have you ever heard the phrase “if you don’t use it, you lose it?” Well, it’s true. For learning in particular it’s called the Summer Slide and it’s NOT the fun kind. The bad news is that this slide’s effects can be cumulative, making it harder and harder to “catch up” over the years.

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Summer Slide FINAL.jpg

Beating the Summer Reading Slump

Reading just 15-20 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Study after study shows that reading, and reading consistently, is beneficial. A child doesn’t have to be a stellar reader to begin with. As long as there is consistency, then fluency can be built upon. Read WITH your child. Here’s just a few ways to do that:

  • Check out the audio book along with the print copy.
  • Read the book, and then watch the movie together.
  • Read the book, then visit a place mentioned or imagine what that place might look like together.

For more details about kids’ programs, including required summer reading lists for your child’s school, visit You can also search the library event calendar for specific virtual summer programs at

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