Pueblo's Reading Pays program returns, giving youths a chance to earn $100 for reading

·3 min read
Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library at 100 E Abriendo Ave.
Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library at 100 E Abriendo Ave.

Pueblo youths have a chance to earn $100 through a Pueblo City-County Library District summer reading program.

The $1 million Reading Pays program provided by the city and county through the American Rescue Plan Act is meant to encourage reading in all children up to 17 years old.

“The Pueblo City-County Library is proud to help bring back this program for the summer of 2022 for the young people and families in our community," said PCCLD Executive Director Jon Walker.

In 2021, more than 7,000 Pueblo County youngsters completed the summer reading challenge, Walker said.

"This represents nearly 20% of the eligible population of county residents ages 0-17.  We conducted post-program surveys and focus groups, and some of what we learned from these is that the reading challenge helped young people improve their reading skills and, also, boost financial literacy among the participants."

Last year, the program paid out $712,300, Walker said.

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To earn their $100, participants must check out or download 10 items from PCCLD.

They then must submit one of the following: a short written review, a drawing, or a video explaining what they thought about one of the 10 titles.

Response submissions are accepted online at pueblolibrary.org/readingpays.

A certificate of completion and voucher for the $100 will then be mailed directly to the participant’s home.

The $100 voucher is redeemable at any Bank of the San Juans location prior to the expiration date.

The program ends Aug. 31.

More than 14,000 students throughout Pueblo County are preregistered for the program. All of Pueblo County School District 70’s more than 6,400 elementary and middle school students are preregistered, as are more than 6,300 students in Pueblo School District 60.

For those not registered through a participating school, registration is open online at pueblolibrary.org/readingpays. Spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis and Reading Pays participants may only complete it once.

“The Reading Pays program was such a success across the city of Pueblo last year and we are excited to support this effort again this summer," said Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar. "We know Reading Pays offers the opportunity for kids to fall in love with reading, practice accountability, be introduced to financial literacy and create healthy habits.”

Community partners in the Reading Pays program include the city and county of Pueblo, the library district, Bank of the San Juans, and Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) of Pueblo. In addition to earning the $100, participants can take home and keep books donated by EPIC. The organization donated 9,000 books to the library district in support of Reading Pays.

"The bottom line is kids who read succeed," said Walker. "I have come to know this anecdotally from my 40-plus years in this profession and there are a number of studies demonstrating that literacy skills among young people is an important determinant of upward socioeconomic mobility later in life."

Questions, comments, or story tips? Contact Justin at Jreutterma@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @jayreutter1. 

This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: Pueblo's Reading Pays program returns, giving youths a chance at $100