All it takes is a library card for your child to participate in a fun, motivating, and creative summer reading program. Most public libraries around the country offer age appropriate versions of a themed summer reading program. Many of these libraries are part of cslpreads, a collaborative summer library program involving 48 states that decide on a common theme, create visually appealing and exciting marketing, and generate assets and reading materials. Each summer theme lends itself to creative and cultural library programming that enrich the reading.
Programs such as arts and crafts, treasure hunts, archeological “digs”, guest performers, author visits, and more, are ubiquitous, transforming the reading program into a fully immersive and fun family experience. Combining programming with reading allows for a fuller context to reading while generating excitement in the library itself. Typically after programming, children are more apt and eager to check out books.
Summer reading programs also allow for children who go to sleep-away camp, as well as for families who have summer travel plans. Most libraries develop software that integrates the reading theme into a highly visual interface, which is easy to use and fun. Children sign in and create online reading logs to keep a record of their summer reading while interacting with other members on the site: there are prize notifications when certain reading levels are reached, opportunities to write book reviews, as well as an option to rate and recommend books to others. These activities inspire children to think even more about their book, and also help with writing skills. As a bonus, the programs include a social component that children might be missing in their reading adventures.
According to the American Library Association, some of the benefits of such programs encourage a habit of lifetime reading, offering magnetic appeal to reluctant readers, retention of learned skills over the summer, generating interest in libraries and books, and an opportunity for fun family time.
When children leave school for summer break, they are at a certain reading skill level. If they start to read less (or not at all) during the summer months, the learning they accumulated over the school year starts to slip and deteriorate, losing momentum. This can be due to time consuming involvement in other summer activities such as camp and travel, or simply to a lessened exposure to books. At the beginning of the new school year, children can feel this loss of proficiency, and the teachers must skillfully play a game of catch-up and review with those children who did not read or read very little over the summer. Typically, it has been found that even 6 books read during the summer can make a big difference.
Libraries are a fun community hub, especially during the summer when they are transformed into places filled with reading magic. They even offer summer reading clubs for adults! Bring your child to your local library this summer and join, participate, and contribute to the intellectual growth of your child or teen while watching the magic unfold.
By Ilene Glickman, Private Tutor