Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Just Say Yes! To Summer Reading Programs...

As spring approaches and the school year slowly nears to an end (only three more months!), many parents and caregivers are mulling over summer programs for children to participate in. Amongst sports and camps, a summer reading program or club at the public library is one important consideration. 

For children and young adults, what are the benefits of participating in a summer reading program? In an article by Joe Matthews in Public Libraries Online, key advantages of a summer reading program include:

  • Children maintaining a learning process over the summer months
  • The encouragement of parent/caregiver participation in their children’s reading activities
  • Children partaking in a variety of creative activities (crafts, drama/theatre, play)
  • The opportunity to instill in children the enthusiasm for reading

The last point should be taken to heart. Creating a passion for reading is extremely important as it is the foundation of maintaining a motivation to read throughout one’s life, whether you’re reading mysteries, graphic novels, poetry, newspapers, or a journal. This is critical now more than ever. Recent findings in an Ontario report published by the People for Education, an independent research organization, highlight a drop in reader enthusiasm in school aged children. The report found that “the percentage of children in grade 3 who report they “like to read” dropped from 76% in 1998/99 to 50% in 2010/11. The number of students in grade 6 who “like to read” fell from 65% to 50% in the same time period.” The link to the full report and news release can be found below.

This research has educators and policy makers thinking about ways to reignite the spark for reading in children. For librarians, it’s a call to act and to strongly (if not incessantly) encourage the promotion of all reading programs and clubs - in the summer and all year round.  

Find Joe Matthew's article in Public Libraries Online here.

Find the report and news release from the People for Education here.

Find information about the TD Summer Reading Club in Canada here

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