The Book Drop: Creston library program helps kids keep up with summer reading

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AAron Francis is the chief librarian at the Creston and District Public LIbrary.

AAron Francis is the chief librarian at the Creston and District Public LIbrary.

Some folks prefer cozying up on dark winter nights with a good book, or lying in bed into the wee hours with that book you just can’t put down (“Just one more chapter!”) but for me, summertime reading is the best. What better way to while away a long summer afternoon than stretching out somewhere cool and shady with a cold beverage and a good book in hand!

For most of us, summertime reading is a pleasant pastime — a way to explore and learn, go on an adventure or just pass the time, from the comfort of a favourite chair. For children, however, summertime reading is an essential activity that directly impacts how well that child will perform in school come September, and has long-term consequences throughout their life.

Research from Johns Hopkins University shows that teachers spend a good deal of time in the fall re-teaching skills that were lost during the summer (a.k.a. “the summer slide”) — a phenomenon that I’m sure all teachers can attest to. This effect is especially pronounced in children from low-income families who may not have ready access to books and learning materials during the holidays. In fact, the studies show that “by fifth grade, low-income children can be as much as 2.5 years behind in reading.” And a more recent study by Johns Hopkins researchers showed that “65 percent of the achievement gap between poor and affluent children can be explained by unequal summer learning experiences during the elementary school years.”

The library is pleased to offer free activities for children of all ages throughout the whole summer to keep kids engaged with reading and to beat the summer slide. Beginning July 8, our Summer Reading Club co-ordinator Emma Feltham will be leading kids in fun and educational scheduled activities every week, as well as weekly scavenger hunts that you can do on your own schedule. We provide a reading record and stickers to track your child’s reading, and all participants receive a reading medal at the end of the season.

The goal of the program is to read at least 15 minutes per day throughout the summer, whether it is a part of a longer chapter book or a different picture book each day. We encourage children to read at their own pace, and to read whatever appeals to them. For those in the younger age bracket, reading together with parents or grandparents counts too.

Unlike past years, our scheduled activities are all drop-in — no need to cancel your summer camping plans to take part! You can join in any or all of the activities, or just track your reading on your own and bring your reading record in for a medal in September.

To kick things off, a special family event co-sponsored by the library and the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy featuring children’s entertainer Mr. Mojo is scheduled for noon-3 p.m. July 12 in the library garden. In addition to the featured performer, we will have games, face painting and other activities for the whole family. Mark your calendars!

Registration for Summer Reading Club is already underway, and we recommend registering as early as possible to ensure that your child receives a reading record and stickers, and is eligible for the reading medal.

For more information about Summer Reading Club, please visit src2014.weebly.com or email Emma at emma@crestonlibrary.com.

Aaron Francis is the chief librarian at the Creston and District Public Library.