Summer is just around the corner, and at the library, we couldn’t be happier. Summer is a special time for us, a time when the sounds of children’s laughter and eager, excited voices fill the library. Children love to read; they love to come to the library, and we love that they come.
Some may wonder about the importance of reading for children today. After all, so much of learning and entertainment involves looking at a screen; it’s tempting to think that reading doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Well, there are actually a number of good reasons why reading matters and why children should read. Here are just a few for you to consider.
Reading exercises our brains. It’s a complex mental task that involves strengthening and building brain connections. Reading gives us insight into the world around us – about people, places and events outside our own experience, and helps to build background knowledge. Reading develops our imagination, helps to develop empathy, improves our ability to concentrate and enriches our vocabulary. Most importantly, summer reading for children helps to prevent the dreaded “summer slide.”
Numerous studies have shown that reading over the summer prevents “summer reading loss.” – the dreaded summer slide in the loss of reading skills. Summer reading loss is cumulative. Children don’t always “catch up” in the fall because the other children are moving ahead with their skills. Sadly, some children and families regard the summer break as just that – a break from school and other “requirements.” However, having kids read four or five books during the summer can prevent the reading-achievement losses that normally occur over those months.
Every summer the library offers an enjoyable way for children to include reading in their summer activities. It’s the summer reading program. The summer reading program provides quality learning activities that are fun, and encourage some of the best techniques identified by research as being important to the reading process. Research shows that free, voluntary reading is essential to helping kids become better readers, writers, and spellers. Children read more when they can choose materials based on their own interests. Self-selection of reading materials is an extremely important factor in motivating struggling readers, and is a key component of our summer library program.
This summer’s reading theme is Build a Better World. We’ll build a pirate playhouse, read about pirates and hear pirate stories. We’ll create a fairytale world with a playhouse castle and read about knights and princesses. We’ll image a trip to the moon as we build a spaceship and learn about outer space. Children will have the opportunity to read weekly with a Book Buddy, use their imagination to build with Wonder Gears or Legos and to enjoy stories, songs and games. Children who read five books over the summer receive a ticket to our Ice Cream Social. There are weekly drawings and special events including a magician, a popular children’s band and a Mad Science “Fire & Ice” program. This all makes for summer reading fun.
We invite you and your child to visit the library this summer, pick-up a summer reading kit and registration prize, register for special events and programs and add reading to your list of activities this summer. The fun begins Monday, June 19. For a complete description of the program, weekly activities and special events, visit our website, raynhampubliclibrary.org and click on Summer Program, or call the Children’s Room, 508.823.1344