In just one month, eight-year-old Kadin Doddridge has read 120 books.

That sounds like a lot, but the summer reading program transforms the public library into a hive of young readers, according to Holly Davis, who is leading the program in its 11th summer.

“They’re in there three days a week, reading from one to five. They’re motivated. Definitely, they’re motivated. I just had a conversation with a mother yesterday. She’s read 80 books to her two-year-old in one month.”

The program, titled “Make a Splash,” offers prizes for readers of all ages, including adults. It started May 24 and ends Aug. 6. Some 135 youths are participating in the program, which is open to drop-ins.

Kids’ activities like beachcombing, puppeteering, learning Spanish and playing ukulele are offered during program hours, 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“If they come for puppeteers, they can accidentally get caught up in the reading frenzy,” Davis said. Eight-year-old Doddridge said his favorite activity is “Detective Time,” where youths see if they can solve a mystery before it’s cracked by Encyclopedia Brown.

The program offers prizes for reading achievement, with “Beanie Babies” going to readers who complete 40 books. The program was broadened this year to include teens and adults, whose completed books earn them tickets in a drawing for coffee mugs, book lights and book marks.

“It’s important to keep reading throughout your life, not just as a child,” Davis said. Summer reading is critical especially for elementary students because it’s easy for them to fall behind while out of school, she said.

Davis said some students are reading books that are below their reading level to ratchet up their earnings, but adults sometimes read below their reading levels, as well. “I let them choose, but I don’t let big kids read board books.”

Parents are free to adopt different guidelines that are more appropriate for their child’s reading level, but reading – not just looking at books – has to be done, she said.

“It’s the summer reading program, not the summer looking program.”

A wide range of prizes is on display in the library foyer. They’re awarded from the hidden treasure chest during program hours. Prizes for adults will be randomly drawn Aug. 6.

Davis says residents have pulled through, making sure the library is fully stocked with toys and goods for the young readers.

Davis also is planning on a reading program entry in the Fourth of July parade and anyone interested in being a part of that is welcome. The program finale will be held Aug. 6 in Tlingit Park.