PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Free Library has kicked off its summer reading program. This year, it’s offering kids the chance to chat about their books with a prominent Philadelphian.

As book lovers know, your reading experience is not complete until you’ve told someone about it. Mayor Jim Kenney has offered his ears to kids in the library’s summer reading program via a recorded phone line, where young readers can leave their synopses, reviews and critiques.

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“I would like to have the opportunity to call some of these kids back. I don’t want them talking just to a recording device,” Kenney said. “But it will be interesting to hear what they have to say as far as what they’re doing reading.”

The goal is six books — the threshold studies show keep kids on grade level or even advancing. There are other activities to reward participation, as well.

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Summer reading prevents learning loss — the so-called “summer slide”– and may even sharpen reading skills, but it gets more competition every year from television, electronic games, social media, so the Free Library keeps adding programs to get kids engaged. This year, they hope to get 50,000 kids participating — not that every child will call the mayor –but he hopes a lot will.

“If the volume is enough that I have the ability to listen, I’m sure they’re going to select some that will probably make me laugh or make me understand why we’re undertaking this effort,” the mayor said. “And if those I can call back, I will.”

The number is 267-689-7323 or 267-689-READ.

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You can sign up at any library or at the Free Library of Philadelphia website.