With summer quickly approaching, Madison Library District is kicking off the season with its summer reading program starting June 3. This year’s theme is, “A Universe of Stories.”

“They are opening up a universe of stories and jumping into a book which is a whole new universe that they might not have been aware of previously,” Gena Miller, youth services assistant for the Madison Library District said.

The program is for people of all ages. They have six different age group categories starting with Moon Babies (0-2), Cosmic Kids (3-5), Blast-Off Readers (6-8), Time Warp Tweens (9-11), teens (12-17) and adults (18+).

Children can prepare themselves for school in the fall as they take on the summer reading challenges and goals.

Miller said children ages 0 to 11 will be counting their space mission goals by reading, or having a parent read to them, for a certain number of minutes per day. Once they have met their goal, they can redeem their prize at the library.

Some of the sponsors include, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Carousel, Del Taco, Eastern Idaho Renaissance Fair, Fat Cats, Rexburg Rapids, Gravity Factory, Paramount Five and more.

The teenagers will be challenged to read a certain number of pages, rather than counting their minutes. They will be offered the same prizes as the younger children when they meet their goals.

Adults are challenged to read 3,000 pages of any book of their choice. When they read 600 pages, they will receive a prize and coupons.

Miller said studies have shown that reading is very beneficial for children and adults. When parents read for fun in the home, especially fathers, children are likely to continue reading as adults throughout their lives, Miller said.

“Reading is so enriching!” Kathy Stanton, adult services librarian for Madison School District said. “It opens your mind to different times, different places, (and) different areas of interest you might want to explore.”

Studies have also shown that people who read fiction often have better social skills, she said. They can empathize, sympathize and understand people more.

“Reading in your life in any form, in any subject, really enriches you and opens up your mind to receive more,” Stanton said.

The Madison Library District is expecting many people to participate in this year’s summer program. You can register for the summer program at https://madisonlib.org/summer-reading-online/.