ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Crack open a book and participate in this summer’s New York State reading program.

The New York State Education Department and the New York State Library have partnered with 1,100 public libraries and neighborhood branches for the 2021 Summer Reading at New York Libraries program. This free, annual program will provide children and families with an opportunity to access library resources and support summer reading.

This year more than any, it is imperative that children continue learning during the summer months and our summer reading program offers a tremendous opportunity to keep them engaged,” said State Education Commissioner Rosa. “Children that read in the summer enhance their reading skills, prevent summer learning loss, and are better prepared for a successful school year.”

The theme for the 2021 program is “Tails and Tales,” focusing on pets and animal stories. Local libraries will provide children and families with activates, programs and reading challenges all centered around the statewide theme.

Additionally, teens will be eligible to enter the 2021 National Teen Video Challenge. This challenge prompts participants to create a short video to promote libraries and summer reading for a chance to win prizes.

Kids, teens, and families can visit local public library websites to sign up for summer reading events and activities, register online to track recreational reading of books and e-books, and earn badges and prizes.