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Summer Reading and libraries

Monday, June 21, 2010

Today was the beginning of summer reading at the little public library where I work. We had a very busy day with families coming in, and lots of books being checked out of the library. It can be fun, it can be stressful, but I really do love the people I serve and am glad to do it.

There was a mom with a little boy, a very little boy, who was in tears. He didn't know what signing up for summer reading was, and the poor little darling was scared out of his wits. I gingerly walked up to him and asked him if he would like a sticker. He sniffled, and said yes and took it from my outstretched hand. Somehow they got to register the tyke with my teen volunteers, although not without a few more tears. Really, summer reading is NOT a scary thing. I hope his next visit to the library will be more pleasant.

When my boys were young, and I worked in libraries, I would always try to plan programs they and other kids their age would like. Now, they are grown, or almost so. I still like to plan programs, story times, and craft days. Sometimes my teenager volunteers, but I am not sure if he will this year. I have asked him and his band to play for a party for my TV (teen volunteers) in mid August.

Right now, I am going to give a shameless plug for public libraries and summer reading programs. If you have kids, read to them. If you have kids, bring them to the library. They need to have something to do for those rainy thunderstorm days, for the hot days when there is nothing much to do, and it is too hot to do it. Most libraries offer a summer reading program where youngsters can get stickers, pencils, little prizes for reading. The kids love it, though I am not sure about the parents. My prizes are mostly donated by people throughout the year and we have them in a plastic treasure box for the kids to wade through, uh, sort through. Most school require your children to read, and most libraries collaborate with the local schools to present a summer program. Some of my fondest early memories were of visiting the library by my grandparents in the summertime and borrowing books.

Let me make a few suggestions to encourage your young reader:

1. Give your child the chance to choose what he or she would like to read. Yes, they will have assigned reading (elementary, middle, and high schools have reading requirements typically.) But you know what, encourage them to pick up something they want to read, and don't criticize their choice. So what if it is a board book, perhaps it brings back happy memories of when they were little. So what if it is a graphic novel, these are great for the reluctant reader, and especially for those struggling who need something visual to spur them on. So what if it is a book about dogs and it came from the adult section, perhaps you have a budding veterinarian.

2. Let your child catch you reading! Yes, pick up a novel, a best seller, a memoir, a do-it-yourself project book and let your child see you enjoy reading.

3. Don't forget audio books - These are available in some libraries as downloadable, or on CD's, and some libraries still have audiotapes. Many memories were made, and car trips shortened by listening to Jim Dale and his fabulous reading of the Harry Potter series. There are many titles in the library that have family appeal, just ask the librarian for suggestions.

4. Make sure to bring some books and magazines with you when you go on vacation.

5. Read to your child/children, even if you think they are getting too big, or that they can read on your own. Even older children love the comfort of being read to on the couch next to a parent, grandparent, or sibling. Continue reading to your child even though they are reading for themselves as it helps them to develop and understand oral reading, and vocabulary.

6. Many libraries have museum passes that will allow a family to visit local museums for a reduced admission, or in some cases even free! Check with your local library. There were times when we did not have enough to go on a regular vacation, and found that borrowing passes from the library allowed us to go on day trips that made great family fun!

Ok, You catch my drift. I AM a librarian, after all.
Add reading to your "to do" list, along with family fun fitness, healthy eating, and vacation fun.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great blog...reading IS so very important! Great suggestions!

    As always,
    Stay Strong!!
    3314 days ago
  • PSMITH3841
    The library was a major part of my life, growing up; still is...raised my kids the same way.....our "small town" library is the hub of activity all year 'round, but the summertime is especially so... emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3316 days ago
  • ELLENB10
    WEll said! Our library has been so busy this summer with kids, teens and adults participating in summer Readin Programs.I feel for that little boy - Summer reading is for FUN, for the JOY of reading. I tell the kids that it is the best time because they get to read what they want, and they can explore the library, and take their time. They don't have to read for points or tests or because the teacher is making them. But sometimes the parents ( or the kids) take it too seriously.I hope that when that boy gets his first prize for reading, he'll be hooked! This year we're having a pool party for all who finish.
    3316 days ago
  • SCOOTER4263
    Some of my fondest memories are of days in the library when I was just a kid, and years later, with my own children in tow. They always participated in the summer reading programs, and I was never without a paperback in my handbag or back pocket. I'm an avid - some might say obsessed - reader, and pleased that in this age of electronic entertainment, my children still happily go to the library and voluntarily buy books off Amazon (although I sort of wish they'd get their own Amazon accounts...)
    3316 days ago
    The key is to be involved and read aloud to your kids and introduce them to the library. If you are a good reader you are a good speller. We went to the library as children, could not wait to get home, clutching our new book to read. My mother read to my brother and me all the old classics like Kidnapped and Mysterious Island and Lost World. Before that the fairy tales and Golden Books and A Child's Garden of Verses. Later she even read us Hawaii by James Michener. Those are the best memories of my mother - us on either side of her in bed or in the summer outdoors in the park, reading to us. To this day my brother and I are never without a book. My brother went on to get a PHd in English Literature and writes and publishes poetry, is well known here in poetry circles. I have a wall of books in my den of all my favorites and a book by my bedside to read each night. If you have a book to read you will never be lonely.
    3317 days ago
  • no profile photo KELLIE6446
    Well said! tons of information and great reasoning. I have always read but spent $$$$$ on books and when the shelves got too crowded I'd donate them to ........................The Library. After the third donation the light bulb whet off and I reacquainted myself with the inside of the library. My daughter is a 'young' mother and she's expecting her second so while she and the new one are sleeping off a long night my 4 yr. old grandson will be at the library! Thank you :-)
    3317 days ago
    my little man and I are both signed up for the summer reading programs at our library. I'm so excited this is the first year our library has had an adult program. The summer reading program was one of my fave things about summer when I was a kid.
    3317 days ago
    LOVE this blog! My daughter and I are always at our local library. We signed up the day the summer reading programs started. It's something that we look forward to every year. All the ladies (and the gents too) know us by name. It's like a extra family and home for us.

    Thanks for your dedication to our kiddos and reading!
    3317 days ago
  • KAYWEB555
    Way cool, in that frame of idea of reading and summer. I just want to give a plug for those wonderful Sudoku Puzzles ! Give yourself a brain expantion, do a couple !
    3317 days ago
    Oh, that poor little boy! I hope this doesn't turn him off reading! Although I'm sure it'll be a great thing for him once he realises how exciting reading can be. I sure can't live without it! I'm so glad that libraries have these programmes, & the regional library system of which my town's library is a part has adult programmes sometimes. I love libraries! :)
    3317 days ago
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