Wherever you live, most likely your public library is taking sign-ups for a summer reading program. If you read a lot anyway, you may wonder why it’s still important to sign up for program like this. I believe there are several reasons. For one, you’ll be encouraged to visit your library more often so your kids can claim the prizes they are earning. And that could have you choosing books out of your normal pattern. I know when my kids and I are in the library, we end up browsing books we would not be exposed to otherwise, and we check out titles that are totally new to us.
There has also been research conducted on summer reading programs. The New York State Library’s Web site, http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/research.htm, has posted research results of studies conducted on summer reading. Here are some of the results cited:
Celano, Donna and Susan B. Neuman. The Role of Public Libraries in Children’s Literacy Development: An Evaluation Report. Pennsylvania Library Association, 2001.
In this 2001 LSTA-funded report, Drs. Donna Celano and Susan Neuman describe the ways in which public libraries foster literacy skills through summer reading programs and preschool programs. Recent literature they studied showed:
- Libraries continue to play a major role in fostering literacy, especially among those most needing assistance in developing literacy skills (e.g., preschool and elementary school children).
- Children who have been exposed to library preschool programs showed a greater number of emergent literacy behaviors and pre-reading skills than those in a control group.
- Children who participate in summer reading programs benefit from the many literacy-related activities offered, aiding significantly in literacy development.
- Public Library preschool and summer reading programs encourage children to spend a significant amount of time with books.
I’m headed down to my library today, and I hope to be surprised by what the librarians are featuring on the display shelves.