Summer is an opportunity to escape some of the monotonous schedules of winter; a chance to enjoy the liberty of warm weather and long days. In these moments, the last thing on our minds is working to sustain the skills we’ve gained through the working months. This is especially true of youth on holiday.
During the summer months it can be difficult to sustain the motivation to engage in academically-rigorous activities such as reading, and youth can easily slip into what is called “the summer slide.” Studies show that students who do not read over the summer can lose about three months of reading progression made in the previous academic year. This may come as no surprise, as the same can be seen with other skills; people who continue to practice a musical instrument throughout the summer will be better players than those who do not touch their instrument at all for two months. So how can we fix it?
Making reading fun is key for children’s engagement. This is often easier said than done as frustration with reading can occur during early learning stages. As with anything, reading takes practice, but the better children become at it, the easier it is and the more enjoyment they derive from the activity, which leads into a positive upward spiral. Choice and reading at an appropriate level is crucial for fun reading. This is where public libraries are wonderful resources as the options are many, and there are people who can help children find literature of interest to them. And this is just the start of how public libraries can help.
Bowen Library, along with most public libraries across the province, is presenting a summer reading club. A primary element of this program is the 50 Day Reading Challenge, which challenges kids to track their reading and earn a medal for 50 days of reading. This motivation might just be the catalyst for a reluctant reader’s journey toward a love of reading. To complement this challenge, Bowen Library also offers free programs for children over the summer. Through games, read alouds, crafts, and more, children in these programs will explore facets of literacy and hopefully build positive associations with reading.
Summer Reading Club’s 50 Day Reading Challenge is open to anyone under 18. Weekly programs for youth between the ages of five and nine and workshops for youth over 10 are offered beginning July 9 and running until August 22. For more information head to www.bowenlibrary.ca.