Published On: Thu, Jun 28th, 2018

Local Library Rocking to Promote Summer Reading  

The summer is here and while some of our kids are in camps or away with relatives there are those who are at home or in the streets during the days.

It is well known that a lack of reading during the summer can cause a student to lose many educational achievements made – over the previous school year – when he or she returns to school in the fall.

Simply put, if reading and learning are not continued, students can lose up to two months of skills during the summer. That is known as summer slide.

While parents and educators are focusing on getting kids to read during the summer months, librarians know the key to getting books into their hands is to first get them into the library.

So, the hard-working staff at the Boca Raton Public Library, through their summer reading program, are using creative measures to do so.

Using this year’s national theme, “Libraries Rock,” they are trying to bring music and reading together.

Earlier this month, library officials kicked off their summer reading initiative with a party.

The family-oriented event featured games and food. There was also a live DJ and an interactive drumming activity.

They are encouraging residents of all ages to “rock out and read,” as well as participate in the more than 100 programs and classes for all ages at the library.

Mayor Scott Singer issued a proclamation declaring June 4 through Aug. 10 this year as Summer Reading time.

The proclamation recognized that public libraries play a critical role in providing a bridge for education and academic skills for students over the summer months to prevent “summer slide.”

When Arne Duncan was secretary of education about 10 years ago, he called summer learning loss “devastating.”  Studies show that the average student lose up to one month of instruction over the school summer breaks. Just imagine the impact this will have on disadvantaged students, who are not likely to pick up a book during those eight or nine weeks.

I learned recently that if students read just six books this summer, they can maintain their current reading level, and, if they read between 10 and 20 books of their own choosing, they can increase reading achievement.

When kids enroll in the summer reading program, they will receive a free reading log, bag and bookmark. They also can collect a new prize each week for reading. ’Tweens and teens receive a cell phone wallet upon enrollment and are placed in weekly drawings for gift cards when they log their books online.

Adults are not left out. They get a free book bag when they enroll and are eligible for monthly drawings for local concert tickets when they log the books they read at bocalibrary.org.

The staff also are donning themed summer reading shirts throughout the summer.

I think their approach is the best antidote for the ‘summer slide’.

Thanks to The Friends of the Boca Raton Public Library, The Junior League of Boca Raton and the law firm of Boyd, Richards, Parker and Colonnelli who have shown their support for this year’s Summer Reading initiative at the library through their generous donation.

Some other local libraries are taking creative initiatives to ensure every child has a book in hand this summer as well.

Our friends in Delray Beach are feeding kids lunch while they are there. They also are making sure those kids have library cards.  

 

Ron Allen can be reached at crallen@delraybeachtribune.com or 561-665-0151.

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